Brushing our teeth twice a day is a task many of us have been doing for as long as we can remember. We know that skipping this daily routine could result in cavities, dirty teeth and oral health issues.

There are seven common mistakes people make when it comes to oral health. People can avoid health issues that could arise from making these mistakes.

1. Brushing too hard. Brushing too aggressively can lead to gum recession, and that can turn into worse problems. Using a toothbrush with medium or hard bristles can be too aggressive for your gums and can lead to gum recession.When you have gum recession, that causes bone loss, and bone loss leads to tooth loss.

2. Incorrect brushing technique. Improper technique can mean we are not cleaning our teeth effectively. We should place our toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, and half the bristles should be on the gums. We have to brush the gums and massage them. It removes bacteria from underneath the gum line. This is the “most effective and gentle way to brush.”

3. Using the wrong toothbrush. It is best to use a toothbrush with soft or extra soft bristles. Size also matters when it comes to choosing the right toothbrush. People should ensure they choose a toothbrush based on the size of their mouth. For example, if someone has a small mouth, they should get a brush with a smaller head, or a children’s toothbrush.

4. Not brushing twice a day or long enough. People should make sure they leave enough time in the morning and before bedtime to brush their teeth for at least two minutes each time. Before finishing brushing, people should remember to clean their tongue, since it’s also an area prone to bacteria.

5. Not choosing the right toothpaste. People with sensitive teeth must use a toothpaste designed for sensitivity; those who are more prone to inflammation of the gums might choose a toothpaste that targets that gum disease.

6. Not cleaning in between the teeth at least once a day. Everyone should floss or use a dental tool to remove bacteria in between the teeth at least once a day.

7. Not going for regular dental check-ups. Go at least twice a year for a check-up and cleaning. Don’t forget to book regular dental check-ups as they are key to maintaining good oral hygiene.

Oral health impacts your overall health. Avoiding these seven common mistakes will not only benefit a person’s oral health but their overall health, too. Poor oral hygiene can also lead to other health conditions like cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and diabetes. Good oral health can be maintained by knowing about the different risk factors, which include an unhealthy diet high in sugar, smoking, drinking and poor oral hygiene. By Manny Palomar, PhD (EV Mail December 12-18, 2022 issue)