Brushing your teeth every day can help you avoid tooth decay and gum disease, but many people make mistakes that make their teeth cleaning process inefficient. From using the wrong brushing motion to brushing at the wrong time, you could be reducing the positive effect of your daily clean. Some of these mistakes could even damage your teeth. Are you making any of them?

1. Brushing After You Eat or Drink

When you eat or drink, acids in the food or beverage soften the protective enamel that coats your teeth. If you brush your teeth within half an hour of consuming an acidic snack, such as fruit, juice or a soft drink, you could wear away the enamel. Instead of brushing right away, drink a glass of water to wash away the acid and wait 30 minutes for the pH of your mouth to return to normal.

2. Brushing For Too Little Time

Dentists recommend that you brush for two minutes twice every day. However, many people brush for a much shorter time. If you don't know how long you spend brushing each day, try timing yourself with your watch or phone. You might be surprised by how quickly you rush through it. In the future, use a timer to ensure you brush for long enough every time.

3. Skipping Flossing

Although brushing your teeth removes plaque from the front and back surfaces, it leaves food and bacteria lurking between the teeth, where the bristles of your toothbrush can't reach. In addition to brushing, you need to floss your teeth once per day, preferably before you go to bed. The combination of brushing and flossing leaves your mouth as clean as possible, reducing your risk of dental decay.

4. Not Brushing the Whole Tooth

Some people brush the front parts of their teeth very thoroughly but neglect the backs and top surfaces. When brushing your teeth, work systematically around each quarter of the mouth to ensure you don't miss any surfaces. Press gently and use circular motions to scrub plaque away from your teeth.

5. Choosing the Wrong Toothbrush

If you find brushing difficult or painful, you are probably using a toothbrush that is too big or has bristles that are too hard. Most people should use a toothbrush with soft or medium bristles to protect their sensitive gums. If you struggle to move the toothbrush around the back molars, choose a toothbrush with a smaller head. If brushing is still painful or awkward, see your dentist for advice.