How to get stronger and better teeth – Avoid these teeth mistakes
Taking care of your pearly whites isn’t rocket science, but we all slip into bad habits that sometimes cause us heartache – er, toothache – in the long run. Here are 5 mistakes you may be making when it comes to taking care of your teeth. This is a four part series. Each week we will post 5 more mistakes.
Teeth Mistake #1 – Multitasking while you brush
Every minute in the morning feels precious, so it’s tempting to brush your teeth in the shower or while scrolling through your Twitter feed. It is best to be in front of a mirror, over the sink; you can be sure to hit all the surfaces of your teeth, and you’ll do a more thorough job when you’re not distracted. Better to leave the bathroom a few minutes later having given proper attention to each step of your prep.
Teeth Mistake #2 – Overcleaning your toothbrush
Thinking about running your brush through the dishwasher or zapping it in the microwave to disinfect it? Think again: While we’ve all seen those stories about toothbrushes harboring gross bacteria, the CDC says there’s no evidence that anyone has ever gotten sick from their own toothbrush. Just give your brush a good rinse with regular old tap water, let it air-dry, and store it upright where it’s not touching anyone else’s brush. More drastic cleaning measures may damage your brush, the CDC notes, which defeats its purpose.
Teeth Mistake #3 – Using social media as your dentist
The web is full of DIY dental tips that can hurt much more than they’ll help. Read our lips: Don’t even go there. We have heard of patients who go on Pinterest and find ways to whiten their teeth there—by swishing with straight peroxide, for example—which are not good for their teeth. Use CDA-approved products that have been tested. (Another online tip to skip: trying to close up a gap in your teeth with DIY rubber band braces.)
Teeth Mistake #4 – Avoiding x-rays
There have been several recent scares about dental x-rays, including a 2012 study published in the journal Cancer reporting a possible link between dental x-rays and benign brain tumors. However, the American Cancer Society notes that the study does not establish that x-rays actually cause the tumors, and that some people in the study had x-rays years ago, when radiation exposure from dental x-rays was much higher. X-rays are important because not all conditions can be identified with a visual exam. There might be cavities between the teeth, or there might be a cyst or other pathology in the jaw. If you’re concerned about radiation, talk to your dentist about ways to minimize the number of x-rays you get.
Teeth Mistake #5 – Storing your wet toothbrush in a travel case
It’s important to stow your brush somewhere sanitary before you tuck it into your luggage for a trip—and equally important to set it free once you unpack. Bacteria thrives in moist environments. While you should use a cover or case during transport, make sure you take your toothbrush out and allow it to air dry when you reach your destination. No stand-up holder in your hotel room? If you’ve got a cup for drinking water, that’ll do just fine.
Stay tuned until next week when we reveal 5 more mistakes! Read >> Part 2