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Proper Teeth Cleaning: The Five Common Mistakes In Dental Care


Constant tooth decay despite regular brushing? This problem is not uncommon, because there are many things that you can do wrong with your daily dental care. These are the five most common mistakes.

If you want to have healthy teeth, you have to clean them regularly - that's no secret. But those who think that cleaning, occasionally flossing and a bi-annual check with the dentist would be enough for a successful dental hygiene, is wrong.

A majority of people claim to brush their teeth at least twice a day. And yet, according to the oral health study of the Federal Dental Association on average eleven teeth of an adult caries experiences. How is that possible?

According to Prof. dr. Ralf Rössler, dentist and specialist for prophylaxis and periodontics, many people in their daily dental care make a whole bunch of mistakes. For a radiant smile, you should avoid these five points as possible:

1. Planned cleaning

Not everyone knows how proper brushing works. "Many people do not brush systematically, but move up and down in the oral cavity with the toothbrush," says Prof. Dr. med. Rössler. Often, too much pressure is applied. "Many people think that the more they clean their teeth,  their teeth became cleaner, but that's not true," explains the expert, "they're more likely to hurt the gums."

A schematic procedure can be a good help. That means, for example, one brushes from top right to bottom left - taking into account both the inside and outside as well as the chewing surfaces.

In addition to the wrong technology, many people often fail because of the duration. "A lot of people takes less than a minute," says Rössler, "but then thinks that it was three."

The combination of these cleaning errors - too short, too unsystematic, too tight - is problematic. The typical consequences: tooth decay and gingivitis. To avoid this, the dental technician recommends the use of electric toothbrushes, as they would provide much better results thanks to pressuring control and timers.

2. Old or wrong brush

That hard bristles guarantee better dental care is a fallacy. Although studies have shown that they remove the bacterial coating on the teeth better, but they can damage the teeth and especially the gums in the long run. Just when brushed with a wrong technique and pressed too tightly, the enamel and the gums can be easily injured. In the worst case, the gums can regress irreparably as a long-term consequence.

Another no-go is too rare a change of toothbrush. people just consume about two toothbrushes per capita per year. This is far too little - dentists agree that a change should take place every three months at the latest. The reason for this is not only the generally damp climate in the bathroom, where bacteria and fungi can multiply very quickly. The cleaning power of the bristles decreases with time.

Important: After diseases that affect the oral cavity, you should always replace the brush immediately. Especially after colds or flu infections, treated gingivitis or healed herpes, the pathogens continue to stubbornly on the brush, which can lead to a reinfection.

3. forget tongue

Also on the tongue are a lot of bacteria. Nevertheless, this area is not part of the daily routine of care for many. "Daily cleaning, however, makes sense," says Rössler. Because just bad breath is usually caused by bacteria on the tongue.

The easiest way to clean the tongue with special tongue scrapers, which should be used once a day after brushing. Particularly important is the rear tongue area: Here are the most bacteria.

But beware: Especially here should be cleaned very gently, so that no gagging arises. "Instead of a special cleaner, a soft toothbrush can be used," reveals the expert.

4. Forgot between teeth

The toothbrush only gets about 60 to 70 percent of the dirt during cleaning - the rest sits between the teeth. Therefore you should also clean the interdental spaces regularly. "Once a day would be ideal, but with healthy teeth, it is also enough every two to three days," recommends Rössler.

For this purpose, the expert recommends special floss sticks: These are small plastic rods with a curved end piece, which is covered with a piece of dental floss. This allows the interdental spaces to be cleaned very easily and quickly and saves the often tedious handling in the mouth with individual pieces of thread.

"If the teeth are a little wider, interdental brushes are the better choice," says Rössler. The small mini toothbrushes, specially designed for cleaning the interdental spaces, remove deposits particularly effectively. However, they must fit to their own teeth, the size of the brush should fit well in the gaps.

But whether interdental brushes or flossing: "The right application is crucial, it should always be done slowly and carefully so that you do not hurt the sensitive gums," advises Rössler. "The best way to show it is by a prophylactic specialist."

5. Brush your teeth immediately after eating
Brush your teeth after eating - this well-known advice is a misconception. Today, dentists know that immediate teeth scrubbing for certain foods can actually damage your teeth. "Some meals and drinks contain acids that attack the enamel, and in combination with an abrasive toothpaste it can happen that this protective layer is literally rubbed off," explains Prof. Dr. med. Rössler.

Therefore, he advises, just better in the morning to clean before breakfast. During the day, it is enough to rinse your mouth with a glass of water after eating. Alternatively, you should wait after the meal for about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the meal with the brushing your teeth. So the enamel has time to remineralize itself.

Prof. Dr. med. dent. Ralf Rössler is Professor of Interdisciplinary Periodontics at the University of DTMD in Luxembourg.

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