Whether it’s enduring months of painful braces or trying out a never-ending list of teeth whitening products, it’s no secret that most Singaporeans yearn for picture-perfect teeth. But despite keeping to a regular brushing and flossing routine, we still make plenty of dental care mistakes that can cause issues and a less-than-perfect smile.
To maintain your pearly whites while avoiding pangs of guilt when reaching for our favourite bubble tea, here are seven common dental care mistakes and top tips to avoid them.
Although rinsing your mouth after brushing your teeth might be second nature for many of us, many dentists actually advise against doing so immediately after you’re done.
That’s because most kinds of toothpaste contain concentrated fluoride, which does wonders for preventing cavities and strengthening your enamel – the hard, protective coating of your teeth. Rinsing your mouth immediately after brushing dilutes the toothpaste and you’ll be missing out on the strengthening effects of the fluoride.
Instead, once you’re done brushing, give the toothpaste extra time to work its magic. Some dentists suggest gargling with smaller amounts of water to allow you to swirl a concentrated slurry of active ingredients around your mouth, too.
Growing up with fun excursions to the Health Promotion Board and not-so-fun trips to the mobile dental buses, we all know that flossing is an indispensable part of our dental routine. But traditional floss can be finicky to use in the busy hours of the morning, so many opt for the more convenient alternative: floss picks.
But though it can help shave minutes off your daily routine, dentists don’t recommend using it. Not only is it bad for the environment, but it’s also ineffective at properly cleaning your teeth.
Most floss pick users simply move the pick up and down between teeth but this can actually prevent proper flossing technique, which requires you to get between your gums. Plus, most users only use one floss pick per session but because of the short length of floss, you end up removing bacteria and plaque from one spot, only to move it to the next.
Pro tip: For more thorough cleansing without any fuss, opt for alternatives like water flossers. These nifty gadgets use high-powered jets of water to floss between your teeth.
Cheap toothbrushes are often too large and have hard bristles
Most of us are probably guilty of buying the cheapest or the best-looking toothbrushes, when we really should be paying attention if they’re a good fit for us. Most cheap toothbrushes have bristles that are too hard which can injure your gums in the process, causing receding gums and other infections.
Instead, try choosing a toothbrush with soft bristles that can get into all the little nooks and crannies in your mouth, providing a gentle yet effective clean.
Brushing our teeth is often a ritual we perform daily without much thought, but pay extra attention to your brushing method when you wash up this evening.
Though it can quickly cover large areas, the side-to-side brushing method is not recommended by several dentists. This is because this method neglects the most important part of your dental health – your gums.
Instead, try to follow an up-down motion with your brush, following the direction of gum to teeth. This method prevents gum recession and adequately stimulates your gums while cleansing the full surface of each tooth.
When washing up in the evenings, most of us instinctively reach for our trusty toothbrushes first, only getting to the flossing part at the very end of our dental routines. However, most dentists actually recommend flossing right before you brush your teeth instead.
Flossing dislodges all the food particles and bacteria stuck between your teeth but brushing your teeth removes these particles from your mouth and prevents tooth decay. Plus, you’ll unlock extra performance from the fluoride in your toothpaste after the layer of plaque on your teeth is first removed.
The extra minutes of sleep we get by hitting snooze every morning often leads to a rush to get ready before we’re late for work. With all our 32 teeth to care for, it’s basically impossible to adequately clean all these surfaces in a hurry.
Instead, try running a checklist of all these surfaces in your mind as you systematically address each of them, making sure that you reach every single corner of your mouth, from your molars to the backside of your teeth. To be extra sure, you can use a timer to track the time or simply play your favourite song and vibe along while you’re at it.
Getting to hard-to-reach spots in our mouths is difficult enough with toothbrushes, but flossing can be twice as difficult. Oftentimes, even regular flossers sometimes give up once they’ve scrubbed the outermost ivories, neglecting commonly missed-out spots like between our molars.
Even if you do manage to reach these awkward spots, many often only slide the floss in and out, instead of a back-and-forth action that targets the gums. This is especially a struggle for braces wearers, who navigate hard-to-reach spots behind metal wires and brackets with special tools like floss threaders.
An alternative to reach these spots is to opt for water flossers with long nozzles that can thoroughly flush debris from awkward spots. They’re also compact enough to take along when you’re out and about and are a neat and elegant way to floss even in public washrooms.
With these tips to beat common brushing and flossing mistakes, you’re all set for destination sparkling white. Not only will you up your dental hygiene game, but you’ll also get a confidence boost while nailing those first impressions with a winning smile.
In addition to fine-tuning your dental habits to avoid these critical dental care mistakes, picking up nifty gadgets like the Colgate Water Flosser ($79.95+) can help make finicky chores like flossing much more convenient.
With three personalised water modes, gentle, regular, and pulse, you can upgrade from traditional floss with a more thorough cleaning whether in sensitive areas or on particularly tough spots. This way, you’ll be able to intensively flush food debris and plaque from all corners of your mouth, while still being gentle on your gums.
The Colgate Water Flosser comes with a nozzle refill, USB charging cable, and a travel pouch so you can take it anywhere with you.
Available in both mint green and pink, the water flosser has a 140ML tank that’s enough for 50 seconds of use per refill. Plus, the rechargeable battery lasts for four weeks of normal use – giving you one less thing to worry about each morning. The Colgate Water Flosser is also water-resistant, so you could even floss in the shower if you want.
The water flosser is portable, letting you easily pack it along for on-the-go cleaning.
This water flosser is available exclusively on Shopee, and from now till 6PM on 19th March 2021 you’ll get a free Elmex Mouthwash or Elmex Toothpaste (worth $12.95) with each purchase for an extra boost to your dental care routine. There’ll still be exclusive deals available even after this date so do keep an eye out on Colgate’s Shopee page so you won’t miss them.
This post was brought to you by Colgate.
Photography by John Low.
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