Let’s talk about a dental activity that all of us share: brushing. Chances are, the way you brush your teeth today is the way you brushed as a child: fast, slow, a little water, lots of water, mouth closed, mouth open – and so on. There are a ton of variations to good brushing, and unless you’re the child of a dentist or dental hygienist, you likely picked up a few you can safely discontinue as an adult. Let’s review these!
Here are a few suggestions you might find useful … and at least one that’ll help you save on your water bill!
- Keep it tight! Do you brush with your mouth open? This habit of keeping your mouth wide open as a way to check on your progress as you learned how to brush was probably learned a long time ago. The trouble is, as you grew older, you also got a bit more aggressive with the toothbrush … brushing like a maniac to get it done quickly. The result? A loss of enamel and gum tissue.
Don’t believe us? If you’re a back ’n’ forth brusher, ask your dentist – they’ll fill you in on where you stand with enamel and gum tissue. Ease up a bit on the aggression with this simple tip: try keeping your mouth closed, or at least collapsed around your toothbrush. You’ll notice three things right away: you’ll have an easier time brushing the back of your teeth; you’ll gag less; and your mirror will be a heck-of-a-lot cleaner ‘cause you won’t be splashing toothpaste all over it as you brush.
- Rethink that rinse! So many of us rinse with water after brushing? Unfortunately, rinsing defeats the preventative assist given to us by fluoride, which needs to remain on our teeth to do its job.
Try avoiding the rinse, and just spit out any toothpaste residue when you’re finished brushing. Yes, it’ll feel kinda’ weird the first few times you do this, but the results over time will be healthier teeth. If you just can’t bring yourself to ditch the water rinse, you can achieve similar results by rinsing with an ADA-approved fluoride rinse.
- Don’t let the water run! Other than being wasteful, running the water while you brush does a wonderful job of removing toothpaste from your brush – which is where you want it, right? If you run the water, you’ll use far more than the recommended amount of toothpaste, and sometimes may even have to re-load your brush.
Try turning off the water after the first rinse of your brush. You’ll notice quickly, that what you really want is that initial dampening of your toothbrush and not the costly waterfall you’ve been using for decades. You’ll save a whole bunch of water too!
- We like tepid water! Using cold water is a habit that mainly comes from our desire to drink cold water. Except when it comes to brushing our teeth with the stuff there is no benefit. In fact, if you have sensitive teeth, warming up the tap a bit will likely do you a bit of good.
Experts suggest trying to break these old brushing habits. Experiment, and see what works for you – you might find some of the new habits you develop are far better than those you learned as a three year-old.