Why Do I Keep Getting Cavities? How Overzealous Brushing Habits Can Hinder Your Health

It can be frustrating to go to your regular six-month dental checkup and find out that you have to get some cavities filled. However, it can be even more frustrating to hear this news if you have stellar brushing habits. Believe it or not, you can be too overzealous with brushing. Take a look at some common brushing culprits to see if you can make any adjustments before your next appointment.

Brushing Too Hard

Even if you already have a soft-bristled toothbrush, you can still brush too hard if you are squishing the bristles against the enamel. According to one site, the plaque on your enamel is not as hard as you think it is; it is soft enough that you could actually take most of it off with a rag. So, start by adjusting your brushing form. If you previously sawed back and forth with the brush, work on making little circles on each tooth. If you smashed the bristles hard against your teeth perpendicularly, twist the toothbrush one way or another so that you angle the bristle tips.

Brushing More Instead of Flossing

While both brushing and flossing are required for good oral health, you may have been favoring your brushing and only flossing every so often. Dentist Ann Laurent says that if you were forced to choose only one oral health habit, then flossing would actually be more important. While brushing removes plaque on the enamel, flossing is able to reach dangerous microbes in the gums that lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease, which in turn can put you at risk for other conditions like diabetes (since periodontal inflammation can affect glycemic control). In short, don't try to take care of everything with brushing and floss at least once a day.

Brushing Immediately After Certain Foods and Drinks

You may have been taught when you were younger that you should brush after eating sugary sweet things. However, the problem lies in the fact that when sugar in your food is metabolized by any plaque on your enamel, it can create acids. While the saliva in your mouth can help return the acidic pH back to normal levels, brushing actually hinders the problem because you are essentially etching those acids into the enamel. The Huffington Post says that you should wait about a half an hour before brushing after eating (especially with citrus fruits, wine, soda-pop, etc.). Instead, try rinsing your mouth out with water or increasing the saliva production with some sugar-free gum. 

As you see, even if you have good intentions with your oral health, some brushing habits can be actual hindrances. Talk with Binbrook Smile Design Dental Care or your local dentist for more tips on how you can avoid cavities and improve your visits.