An article published by The Guardian brought up a recent Twitter discussion on how to properly brush and take care of your teeth. You’d think that doing something twice a day, every day, for our entire lives would make most of us experts at that thing. Of course, at the goal of achieving 10,000 hours, it would take over 400 years to achieve mastery of toothbrushing at four minutes a day. Here are a few ways you’re probably brushing your teeth wrong.

A set of toothbrushs and dental floss Even if you’re brushing your teeth properly, if you aren’t doing it twice a day, it’s not enough. You should brush your teeth in the morning after you wake up and in the evening before bed every single day.

Using the Wrong Toothbrush

The tools you use to brush your teeth are just as important as the process! If you’re using the wrong toothbrush, you could be doing more harm to your teeth than good. For example, if your toothbrush has very stiff bristles, you may actually be damaging your enamel. Instead, opt for a toothbrush with soft bristles. They’re just as effective at removing plaque (it’s about as soft as yogurt — no need to scrub!) and they’re much gentler on your teeth.

Speaking of buying a toothbrush, when was the last time you replaced yours? When your toothbrush becomes worn down and the bristles get bent out of shape, it isn’t as effective at getting into the nooks and crannies of your teeth. You should replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or as often as it begins to show visible signs of wear.

Not Brushing Everywhere

If you just brush your front teeth and then give a vigorous once-over to the back molars, you probably aren’t doing much good. It’s important to brush all the surfaces of your teeth, including the backs, to make sure you’re plaque-free. If you go into autopilot mode whenever you brush your teeth, you’re probably not doing a very thorough job. Next time you brush, take the time to think about which areas of your mouth you’ve gone over, and make sure you hit them all.

Of course, it isn’t just your teeth that should be brushed. Brushing your tongue can help your mouth feel fresher and prevent bad breath. Don’t forget about flossing and using mouthwash as well!

Getting the Timing Wrong

Even if you’re brushing your teeth properly, if you aren’t doing it twice a day, it’s not enough. You should brush your teeth in the morning after you wake up and in the evening before bed every single day. Frequent brushing will prevent plaque, which you can remove at home, from hardening into tartar (also called calculus), which only your dentist can deal with.

Having a tooth brushing routine can benefit more than your teeth. Most experts agree that two minutes is the ideal amount of time to brush for — thirty seconds for each quadrant of your mouth. Setting a timer can help you ensure that you’re not rushing through this important oral health task each day.

If you’re not sure if you’re doing your best work keeping your teeth healthy, you might want to ask your dentist about it at your next checkup and cleaning. They can give you more guidance on where you’re succeeding and where you’re falling short.

If you are looking for a dentist in Anchorage, please call (907) 274-7691 today for an appointment at Denali Dental Care.