8 Mistakes You Make When Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is easy, right? We’ve been doing it since we were kids, and there’s really no trick to it. Or at least that’s what we thought. It turns out, there are some things we’re all doing that could be affecting the effectiveness of our brushing, and in the long run that could come back to bite us (pun only slightly intended).

Take a look at some of the most common brushing mistakes and see if you’re committing any of them!

1. Too Much Pressure

The harder you brush, the better it is, right? Wrong. According to Matt Messina, a dentist from Ohio, brushing your teeth too hard doesn’t really accomplish anything.

“I think one of the biggest issues that people have is that they try to scrub their teeth too hard. They feel like if they really don’t go at the teeth, like they’re trying to clean the grout in their bathroom tile, that they’re not doing the right job,” says Messina. “The best way to fix this is to take away the mental issue of ‘scrub’ and ‘scrub brush’ and replace it with the word ‘massage.’”

2. You Don’t Replace Your Brush

If the only time you’re replacing your toothbrush is when you go see the dentist, then you’re certainly not replacing it as frequently as you should be. Sure, you might love the way it works or how it feels, but after three months, you should be heading to the store to get a new toothbrush.

Of course, if your bristles are frayed, the color has changed, or the brush looks in any way dirty, you should be replacing it far before three months.

3. Wrong Tooth Brush

There are so many toothbrush options at the store, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and just pick whichever is cheaper. However, dentist Kimberly Harms says that you should be looking at a myriad of things, such as length of the bristles, size of the head, and how it reaches your gums. Whether it’s manual or electric, that’s really up to you, but Harms says there’s one thing you must have.

“The one thing that we really insist upon — it’s very important — is it has to have soft bristles,” she says. “The bristles need to be able to bend, to kind of get right under that gum.”

Dentist Maricelle Abayon agrees with this statement.

“Sometimes people think that the harder the bristles are, the more they’ll clean. But that’s not something that’s necessarily true,” says Abayon. “Soft bristles clean very effectively, more than the hard bristles. The hard bristles actually can wear down your tooth structure.”

4. You Go Side To Side

The motions of brushing your teeth seems pretty straightforward, but in fact, it’s the opposite. When you’re brushing, you should avoid going side to side, according to dentist Sangeeta Gajendra.

“In fact, you can do damage,” she says. “Start from the gum, and go up and down.”

5. You Rush

Brushing should last at least two minutes each time, and that should be happening twice a day. But we’re definitely all guilty of cutting that time short when we’re trying to rush out the door (or to bed).

“We used to suggest, back in the day, we’d talk about using an egg timer or something like that,” Messina says. “But everybody has this wonderful thing on their body all the time now called a cell phone. If you want to set a timer and set it for 2 minutes, that’s great.

Messina has another suggestion, too.

“I see a lot of young people walking around with headphones on,” she says. “If you can leave your headphones in and put on a song, your average pop song’s in the 2-3 minute range. So if you brush while you listen to one of your favorite songs, you’ve probably been in there long enough.”

6. You Hurry

When you eat something sickeningly sweet, your first instinct is generally to hurry and brush your teeth. While you may think you’re helping by getting that sugar out of your mouth quickly, you could actually be helping it harm your teeth.

“You have the acid sitting in your mouth and now you’re using abrasives,” says Seattle dentist Andy Marashi. “So you’re kind of helping the acid erode away your tooth.”

Marashi suggests waiting 15 to 20 minutes after a sugary snack to brush your teeth so your saliva can do its job before you start brushing.

“Or rinse out your mouth with some water, to get rid of some of that acid before you brush,” he says.

7. You Ignore The Gums & Tongue

It’s called a tooth brush, not a gum brush, so people often forget that the gums are just as important to care for, considering that’s where a lot of bacteria hangs out.

“You have about a millimeter of gum tissue where your tooth comes outside your gum, you want to kind of get under there, just about a millimeter, maybe 2 or 3 millimeters, right under the gum,” Harms says. “So the bristle needs to be able to bend.”

Hans Malstrom, a dentist from Rochester, New York, agrees with Harms, and has something recommendations on how to help.

“We spend more time on the chewing surface and we don’t really get down on the gum line,” says Malmstrom. “That’s one of the most common things — they don’t brush along the gum line. We normally recommend to angle the brush at a 45-degree angle against the gumline.”

Marashi also reminds people to brush their tongue, as weird as that may sound.

“Most people don’t brush the tongue side of the teeth,” says Marashi. “It’s very easy to tell. You get a line of inflammation. Not to mention the debris that sits there and becomes what we call calculus.”

8. You Slack

Yes, brushing your teeth is a lot of effort when done properly, but chances are you’d rather have a full set of clean teeth than a mouth full of raggedy rotten ones. You need to brush twice a day for at least two minutes, and at least one of those times needs to be “exceptional.” Brush, floss, use mouthwash, the whole shebang.

“As long as we go in and stir up the bacteria once every 24 hours, we can keep them less productive and less dangerous,” Messina says. “Once a day, a  good thorough brushing-flossing-rinsing does wonders.”

So there you have it. Eight things we’re probably all doing wrong when brushing our teeth. Who would have thought?

[H/T: WebMD]

How many of these things are you doing?

10 Mistakes You Make When Weighing Yourself

If you’re trying to lose weight, then you’ve most likely stepped on the scale in the last few weeks. It can be a discouraging if you don’t see the numbers move, but it can also be a great feeling once you see them go down. The thing is, the scale isn’t really the best way to gauge weight loss. Sure, you see the numbers, but you can gain muscle or have your body composition change, and that doesn’t show up on the scale.

Weighing yourself is an important part of most diet and exercise routines, but a lot of people are making mistakes when it comes to stepping on the scale. These are some common mistakes people are doing when weighing themselves.

1. You’re weighing yourself every day.

When you weigh yourself every day, you can make yourself anxious and develop an unhealthy relationship with the scale. Obsessively weighing yourself doesn’t give you the whole picture in terms of what’s going on in your body, and it can end up stressing you out. When you’re stressed, your body develops the hormone called cortisol. Unfortunately, cortisol leads to an increase in cravings of sugar and fat, so weighing yourself every day could actually harm your weight loss journey.

2. You’re using a digital scale.

Digital scales are the most common and arguably most convenient ones on the market. The issue with digital scales, however, is that their accuracy can be very skewed. Moving your digital scale even a little bit can cause it to become uncalibrated. Chances are, you’re not calibrating it every morning, so your scale will most likely be inaccurate. If you want an extremely accurate reading of your weight, it’s best to use the professional scales you see at a doctor’s office.

3. You’re not taking the weather into account.

Yes, the weather can affect your weight, or more specifically, your scale. Digital scales tend to read heavier in colder weather and when there are high levels of humidity. In fact, one study showed that there can be as much as a 3.4lb difference in weight readings depending solely on the temperature. So the next time there’s a cold spike or a heat wave and you step in the scale, just remember to keep that in mind.

4. You’re weighing yourself at night.

Perhaps you’re someone who likes to step on the scale after your evening shower and bed time routine. If this is the case, it might be time to switch things up. When you step on the scale at night, your weight is undoubtedly going to be higher. You’ve eaten at least 3 meals that day plus taken in fluids. You can gain between 6 and 8lbs in a day just based on natural variabilities, so it’s best to weigh yourself in the morning before you get on with your day.

5. You’re weighing yourself after you shower.

A lot of people have a morning routine which involves showering, and I’m sure there are also a lot of people who include weighing themselves in that routine. The issue is that some people weight themselves after the shower, and that’s not a good idea.

“Your skin is the largest organ in the body and absorbs fluid easily,” says Dr. Keith Kantor, a leading nutritionist and CEO of the Nutritional Addiction Mitigation Eating and Drinking (NAMED) program. “After a swim or a shower, your body can absorb 1 to 3 cups of water, increasing your true weight by a few pounds.”

Plus, if you have long hair like me, it’s going to be a lot heavier when it’s wet.

6. You’re weighing yourself after a workout.

Stepping on the scale after a workout makes sense, in theory. You’ve just burned off some calories, so clearly you’ve lost weight, right? Not quite. Yes, the number on your scale might have gone down, but that’s because you were sweating during your workout. For every 16oz of sweat your lose, you’ll lose 1lb. A better way to gauge the effectiveness of your workout in regards to weight loss is checking the next morning. That will give you a more accurate depiction.

7. You’re using different scales.

Maybe you’ve got a few different scales in the bathroom, or maybe you’re alternating between your scale at home and a scale at the gym. Either way, different scales will give you different readings, and it could start to mess with your head. Different scales can have a difference of between 5 and 10lbs, which if you’re trying to track weight loss, can be discouraging. Stick with one scale for consistency’s sake, so you’ll be able to see relative results based off one set of readings.

8. You’re weighing yourself around your period.

Flickr – TORLEY

Ladies, you probably already know this, but it’s worth mentioning. When you’re PMSing, you retain water and it can affect your weight.

“Women retain more fluid right before their menstrual cycle starts,” says Kantor. “There is a lot of fluid retention that can influence weight gain by up to 7 to 8 pounds.”

Plus, let’s not forget the extra snacks we tend to eat. Take a break from the scale during your time of the month.

9. Your scale is in the wrong place.

Unfortunately, even though they’re called bathroom scales, putting your scale on the bathroom floor can be causing it to read incorrectly.

“If a scale is on carpet, uneven tile, or wood it can also appear to be calibrated poorly,” says Kantor.

Your scale needs to be on a hard, flat surface for accurate read outs. If your bathroom tile is level, then keep doing what you’re doing, but if it’s not then it might be time to find a different place in the house to leave the scale!

10. You’re wearing clothes.

Some people don’t feel comfortable in the nude, and that’s totally fine, but it means that your scale readings will be higher than what you actually weigh. If you’re going to weigh yourself at the gym, make sure your shoes are off and that you’re wearing very lightweight clothes. If you’re weighing yourself at home, try and do it with as little clothing as possible, if any at all. Also, if you are going to wear clothes during a weigh-in, try and wear the same outfit every time so that you know you’re getting consistent results.

There are multiple reasons why the scale isn’t the most accurate way to indicate weight loss, and these are some of the mistakes to prove it.

How often do you weigh yourself?