6 Mistakes You Make When Cleaning Your Teeth image

Good dental hygiene is key when it comes to looking after your teeth. If you’re brushing twice a day and still find that you’re having to deal with teeth discolouration, then you could be making one of these 6 mistakes - any of these reasons could be what causes your teeth to stain.

Are you using the wrong toothbrush or toothpaste?

Many people believe that all they have to do to achieve great dental hygiene is brush their teeth twice a day. While this is a good place to start, using the wrong toothbrush or toothpaste could actually be behind what causes your teeth to stain.

There’s no magic ‘one fits all’ toothpaste, but you need to make sure that whichever toothpaste you do pick has enough fluoride in it. Adults will need to aim for a toothpaste that has around 1,350 to 1,500 ppm (parts per million) as this is key in avoiding teeth discolouration and using a toothpaste with a low ppm can be what causes your teeth to stain.

There’s lots of debate around whether using a manual or electric toothbrush is best, but either way it’s important to make sure that you’re using medium or soft bristles (not hard!), as well as a brush head that’s not too large. You’re aiming to clean each individual tooth, not all of them at once.

If you’re not sure which toothpaste or toothbrush is right for you, then your local dentist can give you advice.

Poor brushing habits may be what causes your teeth to stain.

Changing your toothbrush or brush head regularly is really important and can cut down the amount of dental treatments that you might need. Toothbrushes help us to get rid of any bacteria, so old ones can be really unhygienic and may be what causes your teeth to stain.

A good rule of thumb is to swap your brush or brush head out every three months. If you find it hard to remember when you started using your current toothbrush, then an easy trick is to simply swap to a new one at the start of every season.

Don’t brush too hard, and make sure you brush for long enough.

Brushing harder does not mean that your teeth will be cleaner. In fact, brushing too hard can actually be what causes your teeth to stain as it can wear down your enamel and expose the yellowish dentin beneath.

Another common misbelief is that brushing harder reduces the amount you need to brush your teeth. This is completely untrue, and you need to make sure that you’re brushing your teeth for around 2-3 minutes at a medium pressure to avoid causing any damage to your teeth or gums.

Your local dentist can tell you if you’re brushing your teeth correctly and help advise you on the correct length of time and pressure to use.

Make sure you’re brushing at the right time

The NHS recommends brushing your teeth once at night and at least once more throughout the day, but many people pick the wrong time which can be even worse than not brushing at all, and is key when it comes to what causes your teeth to stain.

Drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth in the morning can taste awful, but it’s really important that you’re brushing before drinking anything acidic like fruit juice - not after. This is because the acidic nature of things like orange juice can soften your enamel, and brushing straight away can cause damage to your teeth.

Brushing too soon after eating or drinking anything acidic can also be what causes your teeth to stain, so you should always wait for at least half an hour.

Find more dental tips on our site, or search ‘dentist near me’ to find your closest dentist who can offer more advice.

Dental floss and interdental brushes are important for good dental hygiene

Flossing should be a key part of your dental routine, but some people only floss the teeth that they can reach and neglect the ones at the back of their mouth.

While any kind of flossing is better than not doing it at all, failing to floss all of your teeth could be a contributing factor towards what causes your teeth to stain. By flossing, you’re not only removing any stuck bits of food, but you’re also tackling the plaque that builds up between your teeth and gums. If you’re not flossing properly then this can increase your chances of having to undertake dental treatments for gum disease or cavities in the future.

You should be using interdental brushes alongside your toothbrush and floss, as these are specially designed to clean the sides of your teeth. No matter how well you’re brushing and flossing your teeth, these are parts that you may miss without the help of an interdental brush.

If you’re confused around getting started using interdental brushes, then your local dentist will have all of the info that you’ll need.

Using only mouthwash or rinsing once you’ve finished brushing could be what causes your teeth to stain.

Mouthwash is a great addition to your dental hygiene routine but under no circumstances should it be used as a replacement for proper brushing or flossing. Using mouthwash alone might leave you with a minty fresh taste, but it’s about as effective as rinsing your mouth out with water.

Speaking of which, once you’ve finished brushing and flossing, you should avoid the temptation to rinse your mouth out with water. It might seem tempting, but this can remove all of the fluoride and the enamel-protection of the toothpaste you’ve just used.

Although it can be difficult at first, aim to ‘spit not rinse’, as washing away the fluoride and enamel-protecting properties of your toothpaste could be what causes your teeth to stain.

Remember that you can find your nearest dentist by searching for ‘dentist near me’, and they’ll be able to offer you all of the advice that you need around dental hygiene and avoiding teeth discolouration.