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Top oral hygiene mistakes you're making, from cosmetic dentist Dr. Timothy Chase

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Oral hygiene is one of the most important aspects of personal health – our teeth are constantly looked at throughout the day. We can work out our bodies in the gym, but we prioritize our teeth differently.

Dr. Timothy Chase, a NYC based oral health expert, can speak to the top hygiene mistakes that people make when it comes to their oral hygiene. Below, Dr. Chase has outlined the top most common mistakes people make every day concerning their oral hygiene that may surprise you.

Brushing too long or too often
Brushing too long or too often Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Brushing too long or too often

Brushing is necessary to maintain great oral hygiene, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to brush every time you eat. According to Dr. Chase, you can actually end up doing more harm than good if you brush your teeth too often or too long. What he suggests is that you brush 2-3 times per day, at least a half hour after meals to avoid eroding your tooth enamel. If you can’t brush that often, a good substitute is chewing sugar free gum with Sorbitol.

Brushing too hard
Brushing too hard Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Brushing too hard

One might think that the harder you brush, the more likely it is that your stains will disappear. However, that doesn’t exactly hold true and brushing too hard can actually cause injury to your gums and can lead to loss of enamel and notching of the root surface of the teeth. Brushing should be done using gentle pressure, with the bristles angled toward the gum line, in small circular motions. Another easy solution is to replace your manual brush with a quality electric brush, which studies show work better and cause less damage.

 Brushing immediately after eating
Brushing immediately after eating Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Brushing immediately after eating

Brushing soon after eating or drinking acidic foods is one big mistake a lot of people make. Doing so can increase the risk of tooth abrasion. Shortly after you eat or drink acidic foods, the acids in the food weaken the enamel of your teeth. Therefore, postpone brushing to at least 30 minutes after eating, by which time the saliva secreted in the mouth can neutralize the acids.

Only brushing your teeth
Only brushing your teeth Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Only brushing your teeth

Brushing is not limited to just the teeth. Your tongue needs to be cleaned too. The grooves and ridges on your tongue can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Ignoring your tongue can be the cause of bad breath as well.

Using the wrong toothbrush
Using the wrong toothbrush Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Using the wrong toothbrush

All tooth brushes are not created equal! The only types toothbrushes that should be used are those with soft or extra soft bristles. Using a medium or hard brush can lead to gum recession and damage to tooth structures.

Not replacing your toothbrush
Not replacing your toothbrush Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Not replacing your toothbrush

Can you remember the last time that you replaced your toothbrush? Over time, brushes lose their flexibility and the bristles begin to wear out. Not changing your toothbrush at least every three months can make your efforts to maintain oral hygiene useless.

Not using floss
Not using floss Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Not using floss

Toothbrushes can’t reach certain places, such as between your teeth and under the gum line. Flossing should be done at least once a day to reach these areas, but can be done more often if you tend to have food stick between your teeth. Gently move the floss between your teeth until it reaches the gum, then pull it so that is partially wraps around each tooth. Floss once or twice a day, preferably after dinner.

Not drinking water
Not drinking water Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Not drinking water

It is very important to drink water throughout the day. Not only does water help rinse food particles from the mouth, but it also helps restore the natural PH.  In addition, water keeps you hydrated, which helps in the production of saliva that keeps the mouth healthy and clean.

Not receiving regular dental check-ups
Not receiving regular dental check-ups Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Not receiving regular dental check-ups

Even if you correct all of your oral hygiene mistakes, you still need to visit your dentist at least once every six months or more if you have any dental issues or have had many teeth filled. Brushing and flossing alone cannot remove plaque that can harden into calculus; only your dentist or hygienist can remove this. Besides dental disease, your dentist can also help diagnose other potential issues such as oral cancer, TMJ and other systemic diseases. If you are in the New York City area, you can visit Dr. Chase (SmilesNY.com) for a comprehensive exam and to find out exactly how healthy your mouth is.

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