I don't mean to sound alarmist by using a title like this for our 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 habits that damage their dental health on a daily basis.
That is why I am writing these lines, in order to try to educate our readers towards healthier practices.
1. USE FLUORIDE-FREE TOOTHPASTE
Toothpastes should have a concentration of fluoride, as it is assimilated and added to the structure of tooth enamel, which makes teeth more resistant to caries-producing bacteria.
Therefore, its regular application at the appropriate concentration makes the teeth of the youngest members of the household less susceptible to caries.
We can conclude that fluoride is an effective measure for the prevention of caries when applied in the appropriate dosage. If in doubt about the appropriate dosage for an adult or a child, you should consult an paediatric dentist.
2. NOT FLOSSING/FLOSSING/TOOTHPICKING
The first misconception is commonly spread: brushing does not exempt from flossing. Because the bristles of the toothbrush do not have the capacity to remove food debris that gets stuck between the teeth. Let's keep in mind that an interdental cavity CAN affect two teeth.
3. OPEN THINGS WITH YOUR MOUTH
We are all aware of it, but it is not the first time we open something with our mouth. It is something that many people do without even realising it, and not only can we damage our teeth, but we can also damage the gums or other mucous membranes in our mouths.
4. TIGHTENING WHEN BRUSHING
Socially it is easy to associate, for example, rubbing a stain on a T-shirt hard to get it out with brushing our teeth hard to "remove more dirt".
This can lead to a situation in which our enamel and gums are negatively affected. Creating recession, sensitivity and bleeding gums.
Brushing should be a conscious act, so that we know what pressure we are applying at all times. To help us we can use soft or medium-soft bristle brushes, they will not give us a feeling of friction as we are used to but they will remove plaque in the same way, taking care of our gums and teeth.
5. MISUSE OF INTERPROXIMAL BRUSHES
The first mistake that is made is to force the brushes into the interdental areas. We should be aware that there are different sizes of interproximal brushes and that the entry between two teeth should be gentle. If we force the entry, over time, we will cause gum recession in these areas.
Another mistake that is made, this time with the youngest members of the household, is to think that the use of interdental brushes or irrigators can be used by all patients. Over the years, adults develop, to a greater or lesser extent, gum recession. Therefore, if we use these objects to replace the floss because of their "ease of use", we will probably damage our children's gums. In these cases, the use of dental arches can facilitate the task of correct interproximal cleaning.
6. BAKING SODA OR ACTIVATED CHARCOAL WHEN BRUSHING TEETH
It is an act that our parents or grandparents used to do and, to a lesser extent, it is an inherited habit that only gives a false sense of whitening and cleanliness.
First of all, we must be aware of how counterproductive it is to erode our teeth. We have already talked about the danger of brushing with too much force due to the erosion it generates. If we add to this situation the erosion that bicarbonate or active carbon can cause, we find that gum sensitivity or recession is multiplied.
7. EXCESSIVE GUM CHEWING
It is true that in exceptional situations, if we are unable to brush our teeth, it can be alleviated by chewing sugarless gum, but it should not be made a habit.
Excessive use can lead 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 really necessary to wet the toothbrush before using it, we do it because the sensation of the toothpaste can be rough, so it is also common to wet it a second time when we apply the toothpaste. And, unless the toothpaste itself indicates that it should be wet, it is not necessary to do so.
9. EXCESSIVE CONSUMPTION OF CARBONATED BEVERAGES
This paragraph is misconceived, carbonated drinks are bad because of the carbon dioxide gas that gives them the bubbles (and other acids such as orthophosphoric acid in coca cola), and if they also contain sugar, it is even worse. It leads to confusion, because you might think that light or zero drinks are not going to be as harmful, but this is not the case. If you can redo it taking this into account.
It goes without saying that, apart from the nutritional reasons, these drinks contain a large amount of sugar or caffeine (among others). These ingredients, when ingested on a regular basis, damage teeth by eroding the enamel, which can lead to tooth sensitivity and weakness.
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.
11. BONUS! BITING YOUR NAILS
Have you read our article on how biting your nails causes tooth decay?