Everyone knows how to take care of their teeth, right? From a very young age, you were probably taught to brush, floss, rinse and perform the other duties that maintain your oral health and minimise the chance of cavities and other problems.
The trouble is, not everything you believe about your tooth brushing routine may be correct. Over the years, the habits people are taught have become set in stone, but research has shown that some of these habits aren't the best way to take care of your teeth.
If you're doing any of these things, consider changing your habits to improve your dental care.
Brushing straight after eating
After you eat food or drink sugary soda, the acids and sugars make your tooth enamel vulnerable and weak. Brushing while it's still in this state can really cause some damage, as it's far more susceptible to being worn away by the action of your toothbrush.
You should wait at least 20 minutes after eating or drinking before you head to the bathroom. If you habitually do this because you feel like your mouth isn't clean when you eat, try rinsing out with plain water and chewing some sugar-free gum instead.
Rinsing after brushing
As you're probably already aware, the fluoride in toothpaste helps to strengthen your teeth and prevent cavities. However, most people rinse their mouth out with water or mouthwash as soon as they've finished brushing, which washes away all the remaining fluoride and massively impacts its effectiveness.
You might find the idea of not rinsing unpleasant, but your mouth is still clean from the brushing. Wait at least 30 minutes before eating, drinking, or rinsing, so the fluoride can really get to work.
Covering your toothbrush
Some toothbrushes come with their own cover, which looks as though it will do a great job of protecting the bristles from dirt and germs. What a cover actually does, however, is create an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. Instead, just give your brush a rinse after using it, and leave it uncovered.
Brushing too hard
It's easy to really go at it when you're brushing your teeth, thinking that this will help remove more plaque. Plaque is actually very soft, though, and easily removed with gentle brushing. If you put a lot of pressure into your brushing, you can actually damage tooth enamel, weakening your teeth in the long run. Try to ease off the pressure, and use a soft-bristled toothbrush to minimise the abrasion.