I don't mean to sound alarmist by using a title like this for today's post. However, my experience as a hygienist at the Vélez y Lozano dental clinic has led me to discover that, due to ignorance or carelessness, most of our patients repeat several times a day. habits that damage your dental health.
That is why I am writing these lines, in order to educate our readers towards healthier practices and to try to get them to abandon these harmful behaviours once and for all.
1. USE FLUORIDE-FREE TOOTHPASTE
Toothpastes should contain fluoride in an amount recommended by dental professionals, as is the case with most legally marketed toothpastes. Although this is an unquestionable scientific principle, the current commercial trend towards the 'naturist' has led several brands to manufacture toothpastes without fluoride content, an option that should only be chosen by those recommended by a specialist.
On the appropriate dosage and the difference in dosage between an adult and a child, you can consult it here.
2. NOT FLOSSING/FLOSSING/TOOTHPICKING
Many patients do not use dental floss, or any of its variants, believing that the bristles of the toothbrush are capable of removing food debris from between the teeth. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the accumulation of this kind of debris leads to the appearance of the so-called interdental carieswhich can affect up to two parts.
Therefore, if you are not using them due to lack of time, routine or simply laziness, you should know that your dental hygiene is deficient.
3. OPEN THINGS WITH YOUR MOUTH
We are all aware that it is not exactly the best thing we can do for our teeth, but we still do it. In fact, it is something that many people do without even realising it, and so not only can we damage our teeth, but we can also damage the gums and other mucous membranes in our mouths.
4. TIGHTENING WHEN BRUSHING
Another problem we often see in the clinic. Unconsciously, it is relatively common to associate cleaning our teeth with cleaning, for example, a T-shirt. How would you do it? By rubbing hard, right? However, we can't do this with our teeth, as it can create recession, tenderness and bleeding gums.
Brushing should be a conscious act, in which we measure the pressure we apply at each moment. To help us control this, we can use soft or medium-soft bristle brushes, which will not give us the sensation of friction we are used to, but will remove plaque in the same way, taking care of our gums and teeth.
5. MISUSE OF INTERPROXIMAL BRUSHES
It is not enough to use tools for cleaning interdental areas, they must also be used correctly. With the interproximal brushes there are sometimes a couple of mistakes that can be detrimental to our oral health. The first would be to force the toothbrush into the interdental area. If we do this, over time, we will cause gum recession in that area. The entry should be gentle and, to make it easier, there are different sizes of interproximal brushes.
6. BAKING SODA OR ACTIVATED CHARCOAL WHEN BRUSHING TEETH
Neither baking soda nor activated charcoal will whiten our teeth, in fact, they will end up eroding our enamel, exposing the dentin, which is yellowish in colour, so precisely the opposite will occur. Furthermore, brushing with these ingredients can cause gum sensitivity or recession.
7. EXCESSIVE GUM CHEWING
Excessive use of chewing gum leads to jaw joint pain, laxative effect and tooth wear.
If you chew gum or take sweets frequently because you feel you have bad breath, don't forget to maintain good hygiene and always brush your tongue.
8. WETTING THE TOOTHBRUSH BEFORE BRUSHING THE TEETH
It is not actually necessary to wet the toothbrush before using it, but it is a very common gesture because it can generate a rough sensation in our mouth. For this reason, it is also common to wet it a second time when applying toothpaste, something that, unless indicated by the manufacturer, is not necessary either.
9. EXCESSIVE CONSUMPTION OF CARBONATED BEVERAGES
The vast majority of soft drinks have a high amount of carbon dioxide gas, which causes them to fizz (hence they are called carbonated beverages), which negatively affects the enamel, causing erosion.
Moreover, if they contain sugar or caffeine (as is common), the damage to teeth is multiplied.
10. EXCESS TOOTHPASTE
The amount of toothpaste that adults should use should not exceed the size of a pea. Too much toothpaste only generates foam and thus an erroneous sensation of quick cleaning, causing brushing to take much less time than the 2 minutes it should last.
It should be clarified that the use of mouthwash, if it is not prescribed by your dentist due to a dental condition, does not replace brushing or the use of dental floss/toothpaste. It is rather a complement.
BONUS: BITING YOUR NAILS
Have you read our article on how biting your nails causes tooth decay?
Author: Jacobo Martínez