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10 ways you destroy your teeth unknowingly

Are you aware that not everything you do to get your teeth in perfect shape is good for your teeth? Are you one of the millions of people unwittingly destroying their teeth in a quest for perfect white teeth?

People go through a lot of stress for perfect white teeth, for instance stocking our bathroom cabinets with whitening toothpastes, floss and mouthwashes. But unknown to many some of these have been revealed to be of potential damage to our teeth.

Here are 10 tips on what not to do to keep your teeth clean:

1)  Electric toothbrush:  It may sound strange but without the right technique, they can be useless. With most electric toothbrushes you only need to touch the tooth with the bristles and If you push too hard the bristles bend and are not effective.

2) Whitening Toothpaste: Abrasive tooth pastes such as bicarbonate or whitening pastes. They are abrasive and can wear your enamel away and in the long-term lead to sensitivity and darkening of your teeth as the enamel wears and the inner amber-coloured dentine becomes visible.

3) Rinsing your mouth too often with water when brushing: We all use water to clean our teeth but swishing water in your mouth too soon after brushing washes away much of the fluoride with it and minimizes your toothpaste’s effectiveness. If you feel the need to rinse out your mouth after brushing, use a (non alcohol-based) mouthwash. You shouldn’t eat or drink for at least half an hour after brushing your teeth.

4) Brushing your teeth too hard: Poor tooth brushing techniques can harm your teeth. If you really scrub your teeth too hard, you will wear the sides of your teeth down, leaving V-shaped defects near the gum margins. Also, don’t always start brushing the same place. If you always start on the top right side, that section is going to get the most attention. Mix-up your brushing technique so all areas are covered adequately. You should brush in a circular motion – rather than from side to side.

5) Mouthwash: Alcohol-based mouth washes can be harsh and long-term use has been linked to development of oral cancers. Studies have found that excessive use – three times a day – presents a health risk.

6) Flossing: Again the wrong technique such as a sawing motion can cause damage and recession of the gums. You should slide the floss gently up-and-down between your teeth.

7) Brushing at the wrong times too much: This can cause damage as well. Do not brush straight after eating citrus/acidic fruits or after wine. The tooth enamel is softened by the acid and brushing straight after will wear the teeth down. Instead wait for 30 minutes for the acids to neutralize before brushing or even use a fluoride mouthwash to help neutralize the acid.

8) Holistic Toothpaste: They are becoming more and more popular. However, patients using these suddenly develop tooth decay or gum issues. Unfortunately they tend to have little science behind them. If toothpaste is fluoride free I would not recommend it. Fluoride has been proven without doubt to prevent tooth decay. Holistic toothpaste without fluoride may help with gum disease prevention but not tooth decay.

9) Hard toothbrushes: Hard toothbrushes can cause excessive wear and recession of the gums.

10) Brushing your teeth for 45 seconds: Surveys show that as many 43 per cent of patients brush their teeth for just 45 seconds. This is not long enough to give them a proper clean. You should clean your teeth for at least two minutes.

The study was carried out by Dr. Tang Idrees, who is a dentist and owner of Cansbrook Dental Clinic, Manchester, UK.

NgoziUwalaka for


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