Dental expert Dr. Nicole Mackie shares her insights on common mistakes patients make
MISTAKE #1: Brushing your teeth too aggressively.
“This is a mistake I see far too often — patients applying extra pressure to their electronic toothbrush and damaging their gums or enamel,” added Dr. Nicole Mackie, a Las Vegas-based prosthodontist. “Instead, just let the electric toothbrush do its thing and gently hold it at a 45-degree angle to the gumline.”
MISTAKE #2: Rinsing with water immediately after you brush your teeth.
In order for the fluoride in toothpaste to be effective, it needs to sit on your teeth for at least two minutes after brushing — and not be washed away by water.
“This allows the active ingredients inside the toothpaste, such as fluoride, enough time to work helping to strengthen the enamel and combat cavities,” Dr. Mackie advised.
Dr. Mackie said after two minutes, you can rinse with water to help remove any residual toothpaste and debris from the mouth if you’d like.
MISTAKE #3: Using mouthwash immediately after brushing.
Similarly, you shouldn’t rinse with mouthwash immediately after brushing. “This washes away the concentrated fluoride toothpaste that is left on your teeth [after brushing], thereby weakening its benefits,” Dr. Mackie said.
If you want to use mouthwash, Dr. Mackie advises you to wait a few minutes after rinsing your mouth with water after brushing.
MISTAKE #5: Brushing your teeth immediately after eating certain foods and drinks.
A mistake Dr. Mackie often sees patients make is brushing their teeth immediately after consuming sugary or acidic foods and drinks — including coffee.
She instead recommends waiting a minimum of 30 minutes after having these types of food and drinks. “Waiting prevents the spreading of acids around the mouth, which can accelerate enamel erosion,” she added.
MISTAKE #7: Putting a wet toothbrush in a closed case.
It’s important to never put a wet toothbrush in a closed case — or a cabinet — after using it. “Doing this is equivalent to creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Make sure to let your toothbrush air-dry completely before storing it,” Dr. Mackie explained.