Most of us think of oral hygiene — brushing and flossing our teeth — as one of those skills we learn during childhood and don’t need to relearn, but the truth is that many of us could probably use a refresher about the right way to brush our teeth.
You might not think that’s true, but a recent study showed that college kids got better at controlling plaque after a brief refresher on toothbrushing techniques. And they’re not alone. There are many reasons why people benefit from these kinds of reminders.
Parents Aren’t Always the Best Teachers
If all parents were good at teaching, there wouldn’t have been any need for the song “Teach Your Children.” Our parents love us and they do their best, but they’re not always up to the task. (One notable exception: Dr. Adam Hahn’s father is a great teacher, and that’s part of the reason he is such a great dentist.
It’s not always the parents’ fault. Kids don’t always listen. And for many of us, our parents might not have learned the right way to brush because they didn’t learn it as kids — toothbrushing didn’t really become a standard thing in the US until after WWII.
You Didn’t Prioritize Oral Hygiene
The researchers were smart to use college students for their study. Even when properly taught as kids, many people of that age work hard to unlearn or ignore everything their parents taught them. College kids are in open rebellion against everything conventional, sometimes even toothbrushing!
And though they may not be rebelling, they might just have many other things to do. Studying (yeah, who are we kidding — partying) can make it hard for college kids to find time for many aspects of hygiene, such as haircuts and showers. Unfortunately, toothbrushing might be one of them as well. Once you stop doing it, you can unlearn some important lessons.
You Acquired Bad Habits
Many of us don’t always do the right thing, even if we know what we’re supposed to be doing. And when it comes to toothbrushing, that’s sadly the case all too often. People know they should take the time to brush their teeth slowly and deliberately, taking at least two minutes, but they are in a hurry.
So, two minutes of careful circles becomes 30 seconds of jackhammering the teeth, which not only leads to poor tooth cleaning — it can also damage your gums.
We’re Here to Help, Not Judge
When you come in for an appointment at Smile Columbia Dentistry, it’s not our job to judge you for poor oral hygiene. It’s our job to clean your teeth and care for them. And we’ll also give you instructions on how to better care for your teeth in the future.