7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Brushing Your Teeth

When you head in for a checkup at your External link opens in new tab or windowdentist in Fairbanks, the last thing you want to hear is that you’re not brushing your teeth properly. But everyone knows how to brush their teeth, right? Well, it turns out that many adults are still making these common mistakes to avoid when brushing your teeth. If you don’t correct them, you could face dental issues down the line.

1. Skipping Brushing

You need to brush your teeth at least twice a day: once in the morning to get rid of bacteria that breeds in your mouth while you sleep and once at the end of the day to get rid of food particles from daily eating and more bacteria that collects throughout the day. Shockingly, External link opens in new tab or window3 in 10 young Americans only brush their teeth once a day. Brushing morning and night creates a solid foundation for good oral hygiene and fits naturally into routines you might already have in place.

2. You Have the Wrong Brush

There are so many toothbrushes to choose from, so how do you know you have the right one? Choose something with softer bristles, as hard bristles sometimes aren’t flexible enough to get between the teeth and can actually damage tooth enamel. Choose a small to medium-sized head that can fit around your teeth more easily.

3. You Don’t Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly

A toothbrush is a disposable household item. You must replace your toothbrush every three months or when it looks worn, whichever comes first. An old, worn toothbrush is a harbor for bacteria and doesn’t clean your teeth effectively.

4. You Scrub Your Teeth Too Hard

Going to town on your teeth might seem like the right way to clean them, but in fact, it can hurt them. Scrubbing hard at your teeth can wear the enamel, lead to sensitivity, damage your gums, and leave them sore. Brush gently for the recommended amount of time.

5. You Don’t Brush for Long Enough

If you’re late for work or rushing the kids out the door for school, it’s easy to skimp on your tooth brushing time, especially if you’re also using mouthwash that makes your mouth feel fresh. Brushing for one to two minutes ensures that every tooth has been cleaned, front and back, and it physically removes filth that mouthwash isn’t strong enough to deal with.

6. You Shove Your Toothbrush In and Out

Shoving your toothbrush in and out of your mouth while it runs back and forth along your teeth creates plenty of foam but doesn’t really clean your teeth. You should start at your gum line in the back of your mouth and either make small up and down or in controlled circle motions as you move forward. This ensures that the brush moves gently over every surface of every tooth. Make sure you do this on the fronts, backs, and biting surfaces of every tooth for the cleanest smile. Starting at the gum line and moving above and below it gets rid of bacteria that love to hide in this spot that can easily be missed.

7. You Brush for Too Long

Rushing is bad, but so is dragging out your tooth brushing routine. Your tooth enamel is nearly as hard as steel, but it’s still possible to wear it away if you brush for too long on a regular basis. If you’re worried that you’re over-brushing, set a two-minute timer on your phone or get a dedicated tooth brushing timer.


Always tell your dentist if you’re having any difficulties when brushing your teeth, such as pain or excessive gum bleeding. In between checkups, if you’re avoiding the above seven common teeth brushing mistakes, your teeth should stay cleaner and healthier for longer.


External link opens in new tab or windowSchedule an appointment at North Pole Dental to consult with a dentist about your brushing habits. Our friendly team is looking forward to helping you!