Your teeth are shiny white, your breath doesn’t stink, which means you are tooth brushing properly, right?

Not necessarily. It is very important to brush properly as brushing is the only oral hygiene routine for several people.

However, it is not guaranteed that all of us brush properly and are maintaining good brushing habits.

Tooth brushing is the most basic inevitable step of your oral care.

If you are making mistakes while brushing then there is a chance that there is a growth of innumerable bacteria and diseases inside your mouth.

Though as easy it is to learn to brush teeth it is to correct your brushing mistakes.

First, let us know what are these tooth brushing mistakes.

woman applying toothpaste for tooth brushing


Tooth Brushing Mistake #1: Keeping Your Tooth Brush For Long

Dentists recommend that you should change your toothbrush every 3 or a maximum of 4 months.

It is difficult to let go of a toothbrush that suits your need and is a perfect size but it is much better to replace your toothbrush and get a new one every 3 months.

You use your toothbrush twice a day so it is very probable that the bristles wear down soon and are fray.

If you notice a change of color in the bristles or are worn down then it is high time to change your toothbrush or toothbrush head.

Moreover, children use their toothbrushes even more enthusiastically and strongly than adults.

Hence, their toothbrush might wear down soon.

The worn-down toothbrushes will not clean your teeth properly which can lead to the buildup of bacteria.

Additionally, if you have been sick you should change your toothbrush immediately especially if it is in close proximity to other toothbrushes.

Mistake #2: Choosing the Wrong Toothbrush

Is there even a right or wrong toothbrush?

You probably just pick any toothbrush from the market and think that it is okay.

The size of the brush and its bristles are very important.

This will ensure proper cleanliness of your mouth, teeth, jaw and tongue.

Therefore, you should aim to get a toothbrush that has soft bristles.

You may have this misconception that harder bristles clean better, that is untrue.

The softer and flexible bristles that bend properly will reach areas of your mouth and remove bacteria.

This bacteria can assimilate as plaque and lead to gingivitis and eventually tooth decay.

You will have to go through dental procedures like tooth fillings to clean those tooth cavity.

Hence choose a brush with the right size for your mouth especially if you have a smaller mouth.

Moreover, get soft bristles because hard may wear down your teeth structure.

You can go for both manual toothbrushes or electric toothbrushes, both work fine as long as you take care of these factors.

woman cleaning her teeth


Mistake #3: Using the Wrong Motion

Most people are unaware of the right motion to brush.

Going back and forth is not the correct move but moving the brush in circular motion is the right way to go.

You may incline towards going alongside your teeth but actually, circular motion helps to reach the gaps between the teeth.

Moreover, the toothbrush should also reach the gum line.

Horizontal and vertical strokes will damage the soft tissue lining between gums and teeth.

Use gentle around strokes at a 45-degree angle, even behind your teeth and be soft rather than harsh on your teeth.

Being from the gum and go up and down in circular motion and behind the front teeth.

Mistake #4: Rinsing After Brushing

This may be a new one that you might be unfamiliar with.

But you do not need to rinse away your toothpaste after you brush with water.

Toothpaste also contains fluoride which should stay in your teeth for some time.

Rinsing with water takes away the fluoride toothpaste with it, not giving you enough benefits of the toothpaste such as healthy teeth and prevention from gum disease.

You should try to spit the toothpaste and then wipe your mouth.

This may give a little unclean feeling to many.

Hence, if you have the habit of rinsing then you should try to use a mouthwash with fluoride instead of water.

Just don’t use water to rinse your mouth and let the fluoride strengthen your teeth, coat them and protect them.

fast tooth brushing


Tooth Brushing Mistake #5: Fast Brushing

You might be getting late for office or school but at least you can brush your teeth quickly.

Well, that is such a big brushing mistake.

An average person brushes their teeth only for 45 seconds.

That is too less compared to what dentists recommend.

Dentists recommend that you should brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes both times a day.

This is because 2 minutes is enough time for fluoride present in the toothpaste to attach to your teeth and strengthen them.

Therefore, you should set a timer or count in your head when you brush next time so that at least you brush your teeth effectively.

So not only should you not brush fast, but you should also not brush hardly.

Brushing fast will inevitably not give you enough time to brush properly in circular motions which will not clean your teeth and chewing surfaces properly.

Therefore, take your time and brush in circular motions.

Mistake #6: Brushing Frequently

Brushing twice a day is the bare minimum and a necessary step to ensure proper oral cleanliness.

However, you should not be brushing too many times in a day.

It is lucrative to take care of your teeth and brush after a meal but that is wrong.

This will be abrasive and will help the acids in the mouth after the food erodes your teeth.

You should at least wait for 20 to 30 minutes to brush your teeth after a meal.

When you eat the pH of the saliva drops from 7 to 4.5. It only goes back about 30 minutes after you have eaten.

Hence, if you brush within this time frame then you are basically brushing the acids on your teeth.

This leads to enamel erosion and over time your teeth and gums can become very sensitive.

So, you should not compromise on brushing regularly twice a day but there is no need to brush too much.

Don’t forget to brush in the night!

The bacteria are more active inside your mouth while sleeping so do not compromise on that.

child brushing tongue


Mistake #7: Forgetting the Tongue

If you brush for 45 seconds, it is highly likely you are skipping cleaning the tongue.

In fact, when was the last time you remember that you cleaned your tongue?

The tongue has a lot of bacteria.

This bacteria can cling there if you do not clean it properly which can actually lead to halitosis/bad breath.

You can choose a toothbrush that has a tongue scraper that will remove the bacteria.

You can also use a separate tongue cleaner to scrape off the bacteria and make it a part of your brushing routine.

Though you can also simply use your toothbrush to clean off the bacteria and let the bristles remove it.

Just remember to clean the tongue as it is a breeding ground for bacteria so make sure it is cleaned properly to avoid any lingering bad breath.

Mistake #8: Keeping the Toothbrush in Bathroom

Does this sound strange?

Well, something worse is that your toothbrush may have bits of human feces on it.

Storing toothbrushes in the bathroom allows it to be exposed to other elements like feces that are sprayed in all directions when you use the toilet.

However, covering the toothbrush rather than letting the wet toothbrush dry in the air will expose it to more bacteria.

It needs to air dry rather than be moist.

hence, you should consider placing your toothbrush outside the washroom.

Buy a stand and place your toothbrush in an area where it can air dry and not be clamped in a small, moist place.

woman placing brush at wrong angle


Mistake# 9: Improper Angle

You should use circular motions while you brush but you should also take your angle.

The perfect angle for brushing is 45 degrees.

Make circular motions and short strokes at a 45 degrees angle.

This angle allows for better cleaning and cleans the gum line alongside the teeth.

The center of the bristles cleans the gum line and bacteria often hang out there.

Your bristle should bend at 45 degrees against the gum line and can avoid bacteria there that can lead to gingivitis discoloration and cavities.

You can also choose angled bristles to clean this area thoroughly.

Tooth Brushing Mistake #10: Forgetting Flossing

This is not a brushing mistake but it should be part of your brushing and oral care routine.

You brush twice and you think that’s good enough.

Well, that is great but flossing is also essential.

Sometimes, brushing alone cannot properly remove the plaque stuck between your teeth.

The toothbrush may not reach places where plaque accumulates and eventually turns into tartar and leads to periodontal disease.

Therefore, you should floss once a day to effectively remove any plaque hidden in your teeth.

You should preferably floss at night so that no more bacteria accumulates for the day.

However, getting to floss and setting that routine can be tough.

Plan to floss one tooth and then eventually go ahead with the others as well.

You can also use an interdental brush to clean your teeth in between the gaps if you do not want to floss.



You may be making these Tooth Brushing mistakes regularly and you do not even have an idea how destructive it is for your oral health and teeth.

These mistakes may not seem big but over time they will cause damage to your teeth and oral health which only a dentist can cure.

Hence, start working on your oral habits from today and correct these mistakes so that your teeth are healthy and stronger for a long time.