For as long as we’ve had teeth, society has told us that brushing twice a day, every day, is the best thing you can do for your oral health. But there’s far more to it than that. Hopefully, brushing your teeth is your best daily habit – but don’t let it be a bad one. Many people perform bad brushing techniques without being aware. Don’t fear, you can fix these bad habits easily if you know what they are. 

Don’t brush too hard 

We didn’t think it was possible because it feels so good to get your teeth squeaky clean, however, too much pressure can actually damage your teeth and irritate your gums. It can even lead to scratches and infections. 

It’s easier to remove plaque than you may think. Surprisingly loose, its only when plaque hardens to tartar that it becomes difficult to remove. Instead of trying to powerwash your teeth, gently massage them – think soft strokes and gentle motions starting at the gumline and swiping down. Be gentler than you think and use a soft brush. Medium and hard brushes aren’t good for anyone’s mouth, but they are pretty good for house cleaning, so leave them under the sink where they belong! 

Don’t ever, ever share your toothbrush 

SURELY, this goes without saying, but just in case: Do NOT share a toothbrush. Even if you sometimes share food and drinks with your partner, and even if you regularly kiss each other. It’s gross to share a toothbrush. 

Why? Because when you share a toothbrush, you open your body up to all kinds of germs that it isn’t prepared to handle. Toothbrushes can harbor the flu, pneumonia, HPV, and not to mention, the bacteria that causes tooth decay – streptococcus mutans – a scary name for a scary thing. Maybe you can’t bear to be separated from your partner, but trust us, this is the one exception you should make. 

Don’t brush too quickly 

The average American spends 45 seconds brushing their teeth. That’s less than half the recommended time. If you’re one of those people that’s “rushing the brushing,” you should know that when you do you’re leaving behind countless germs and bacteria that are damaging to your oral health. 

Additionally, some of the ingredients in your toothpaste, like fluoride, need time to do their job. Fluoride isn’t going to help protect your enamel in only 45 seconds. Two full minutes of brushing is recommended for the optimum benefit. We all learned in the past year to wash our hands for 20 full seconds for maximum hand cleanliness. They taught us to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Guess what? Only 12 “Happy Birthday” verses and your teeth will sparkle and shine. 

Seeing your dentist regularly should always be at the top of your list in keeping up with your health and wellness. Catching tooth and gum problems early will always keep you smiling for many years to come. 

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Dr. Karl Smith
Dr. Karl Smith has been in dental practice for over thirty-four years. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1981 and immediately entered General Practice in the US Air Force Dental Corps. He successfully completed three additional years of advanced education in the specialty of Periodontics with additional training in IV Sedation and Dental Implants in 1992, at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio and Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center. He won the John Pritchard Prize for outstanding research which included looking for a vaccine against bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Dr. Smith completed a Master of Business Administration degree with a Certificate in Health Services Management while working full time as a Periodontist. In his free time Dr. Smith enjoys traveling nationally and internationally. He is an expert skier and enjoys playing other sports including tennis. Family time with his five children and many grandchildren is also very important to him. Dr. Smith's team describes him as a dentist with superpowers! They know that when he speaks with his patients, he does so with a great deal of care and concern, and because he has a genuine desire to improve their lives and smiles! Dr. Smith is a member of many dental organizations including the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology.