We all want a healthy mouth and clean teeth, but many of us have developed some bad habits rather than following a healthy routine. Sometimes we try “hacks” that we hope will work better than the tried and true methods, or we’re given advice by a well-intentioned friend or family member (who probably has very little actual knowledge about good oral health). Are you making one of these common mistakes?
Damaging Tooth Whitening
Tooth whitening has become very popular, which means, of course, that there is a lot of talk about DIY tooth whitening methods. Unfortunately, many of these methods are ineffective or even dangerous. Charcoal, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, lemon and baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and oil pulling are all ineffective and often do more harm than good. If you are interested in whitening your teeth, talk to your dentist about safe and effective options that you can do at home.
Skipping the Floss
If you are skipping flossing, you are making the number one most common oral health mistake! No single oral hygiene habit can do as much to help you keep your gums healthy and prevent tooth loss. To learn more about the benefits of floss and how to floss correctly, read our article Do You Really Need to Floss and make time to floss at least once a day.
The Mouthwash “Shortcut”
Don’t have time to brush your teeth? Just swish a little mouthwash around! That will get you by, right? Wrong. Using mouthwash instead of brushing your teeth is one of the most common oral health mistakes. Although mouthwash makes your mouth feel clean, bacteria is still running rampant in your mouth. Mouthwash cannot remove the plaque and bacteria that contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. Skipping your toothbrush in favor of a quick rinse with mouthwash can quickly become a habit that leads to poor dental health.
DIY Oral Hygiene
DIY, holistic, and oral hygiene “hacks” have been making their rounds on social media. Homemade toothpaste recipes, coconut oil pulling, and teeth whitening hacks are just a few of the culprits. If your dentist has not suggested a specific “hack”, there is probably a reason. The next time you see a DIY oral health hack on TikTok, ask your dentist about it before trying it. If you are interested in natural or alternative toothpaste or mouthwash options, check in with your dentist to make sure they are safe and effective.
Brushing After Drinking Soda
Brushing your teeth directly after drinking soda, juices, or sports drinks may seem like a good idea, but it can actually damage your teeth! The acid in these drinks weakens the enamel of your teeth, and brushing directly after drinking soda can damage or remove the weakened enamel. Rinse with water after drinking sugary drinks and juices to help wash away the acid and sugar, and wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth.
It’s never too late to replace one of these bad habits with a healthy oral hygiene routine. Perhaps the simplest “shortcut” to great oral health is to carry a bottle of water and floss with you. Water not only helps clean out acid, sugar, and other disease-causing particles, but staying hydrated actually improves the health of your mouth and gums. Flossing can be a more effective way to freshen your mouth than mouthwash or brushing (and ensure you won’t be caught with spinach in your teeth).
If you have any questions about how you can improve your oral health and hygiene, ask your dentist or give us a call! It’s never too late to start some healthy habits.