8 Bad Brushing Habits

You may think you have everything under control as it relates to your brushing habits. But what if you are wrong? It could have serious consequences to your dental health. The American Dental Association (ADA), in their online Mouth Healthy article, “8 Bad Brushing Habits,” lays out 8 common, bad brushing habits and their solutions. We at Boulevard Dental Associates have summarized this online article for you.

Keeping Your Toothbrush for Too Long

According to the ADA, you should change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. When you see bristles that are frayed and broken, it is time to shop for another toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Not Brushing Long Enough

You should brush your teeth for two whole minutes and twice a day. This is in contrast to the average of 45 seconds that most people spend. The ADA article recommends setting a timer if needed to make sure you meet this goal.

Brushing Too Hard

Be gentle, and not hard with your brushing technique so that you do not do damage to your gums. Gentle brushing will suffice to remove the food and bacteria on your teeth and gums.

Brushing Right After Eating

Wait at least 60 minutes to brush your teeth after eating or drinking, especially if you have just ingested something acidic. The article suggests drinking water in the meantime.

Storing Your Brush Improperly

Do not place your toothbrush in a closed container where germs can grow. Instead, keep it upright and let it air dry.

Using a Brush with Hard Bristles

While the ADA article recommends that you talk to your dentist about the best toothbrush for you, in general, soft bristles are a safe bet. It also cautions to be gentle, especially where the gum and teeth meet.

Improper Brushing Technique

A brushing technique the ADA article recommends is the following:

  1. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
  2. Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
  3. Brush the outer surfaces, inner surfaces and chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  4. To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

Using a Brush That’s Not the Best Fit for You

As long as a toothbrush meets the ADA Seal of Acceptance, you may need to try different types of toothbrushes until you find the one you like the most. A power brush is an excellent option.

We at Boulevard Dental want to give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you legitimately have been doing your best as it relates to brushing, but you just haven’t been aware of good brushing habits. Our sincere hope is that the above article summary on bad brushing habits and their solutions will set you on a better course to oral health, and help to prevent unnecessary dental problems for you in the future.


American Dental Association. 8 Bad Brushing Habits. Mouth Healthy.
Accessed January, 9 2010.