When you brush, floss, and even rinse your mouth two or three times a day, you may believe that you are taking really good care of your teeth and should have no issues with your teeth. However, even if you are meticulous about your oral health, there are a couple of mistakes you may be making that could jeopardize your dental health.
1. Brushing Your Teeth with the Same Toothbrush for Too Long
Each time you brush your teeth, you may rinse off the bristles well then place it in a holder with them standing up so that they can air dry. Along with being in contact with the cleansing properties of toothpaste during each brushing, you may believe that your toothbrush is clean enough to use until the bristles become visibly dirty or frayed.
However, even if you rinse the bristles completely out, there may still be microscopic food particles caught on the bristles. As these build up, they become food for bacteria that is able to thrive in the nutrient-rich, moist environment. And, since the toothpaste will not clean all areas of your brush, these bacteria will continue to grow.
If you continue using your toothbrush for several months, you will only be introducing and reintroducing the bacteria into your mouth. Doing so could lead to bacteria, tooth decay, and even gum disease. To keep this from happening, you should replace your toothbrush every two months at the most, with a month being a more ideal time period.
2. Using an Over-the-counter Mouthwash That Contains Alcohol
If you are worried about the buildup of bacteria inside your mouth, you may opt to rinse with mouthwash after every brushing. Since many over-the-counter brands boast antibacterial properties, you may use them with abandon and even swish your mouth in between brushing.
However, you need to make sure you read the active ingredient in the mouthwash you choose. If it contains alcohol, your mouthwash may be contributing to the spread of bacteria instead of killing them off. Since alcohol dries the mouth, your normal saliva production will be less, which removes your body's natural defense against germs.
Instead of using an over-the-counter mouthwash containing bacteria, use one that contains fluoride. If you are unsure as to which type to use, ask your dentist for recommendations.
Avoiding the above mistakes can help minimize the number of bacteria allowed to grow in your mouth to help avoid problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. For more information about proper tooth care, speak with your dentist during your next appointment.