The mistakes we ALL make when it comes to brushing our teeth

Revealed: The common mistakes we ALL make when it comes to brushing our teeth – including rinsing afterwards and neglecting the tongue

  • Dr Mark Hughes explained how to improve your daily brushing routine
  • He said people should avoid using mouthwash, as well as toothcare fads
  • Recent survey found 25 per cent have gone two days without brushing teeth

While everyone knows you should brush your teeth twice a day, experts have revealed the common mistakes nearly all of us have been making. 

Dr Mark Hughes, a Harley Street dentist and ambassador for FOREO, explained that we should actually avoid rinsing after brushing, as well as using mouthwash.

He added that most people often forget to clean the tongue, which is key for maintaining good oral hygiene.

It comes as a new FOREO survey found that a quarter of people in Britain have gone two days or more without brushing their teeth, with many claiming they’re ‘too busy’ to brush.

Here, Dr Hughes tells FEMAIL the common mistakes we’re making when it comes to our brushing routine… 

Harley Street dentist Dr Mark Hughes has revealed the common mistakes nearly all of us have been making when it comes to brushing our teeth (file photo) 


While most of us rinse our mouths with water after brushing out teeth, Dr Hughes said this is actually a no-no.

‘Rinsing just washes away all the goodness from your toothpaste, including fluoride,’ he explained.

‘We should be giving this key ingredient time to absorb into the enamel and strengthen it.’ 

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As well as not rinsing the mouth out with water, Dr Hughes said we should also avoid using mouthwash.

‘The alcohol in mouth wash can dry out the inside of your mouth, which in turn increase bacterial growth, the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve,’ he said.

‘Doing a thorough cleaning job should mean that bacteria has been removed, removing the need for a mouthwash.’

Dr Hughes explained that we should ditch the mouthwash, as well as not rinsing out the mouth with water after brushing our teeth (file photo) 


While we all know the importance of brushing out teeth, the tongue is an area most of us neglect.

Dr Hughes said: ‘Cleaning your tongue is something that very few of us actually do, but in actual fact the tongue is the perfect breeding ground for enamel attacking bacteria. 

‘After you have brushed your teeth each day, spend some time cleaning your tongue with a specially designed brush such as the FOREO Issa 2. 

‘Not only can bacteria on the tongue cause cavities, it can also give you bad breath, something we all want to avoid.’ 

What’s the ideal way to brush your teeth? 

  • Brush teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, in the morning before breakfast and in the evening before you go to sleep
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and a softly bristled brush
  • The bristles should come into contact with both the gumline and surface of your teeth, the brush should be held at a 45-degree angle against your gums and rather than scrubbing teeth back-and-forth, gently move your brush in circular motions
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months 


While new products including charcoal toothpaste have appeared on the market in recent years, Dr Hughes said that toothcare fads should be best avoided.

‘There are a lot of products out there that claim to improve your oral health and brighten your smile,’ he said.

‘For instance, charcoal toothpaste is extremely abrasive and should not be used on delicate teeth. 

‘It strips the enamel, so if you wouldn’t use it to clean your car, then you definitely shouldn’t be using it on your teeth.’


As well as being careful about how you brush your teeth, there are certain drinks you should also avoid to prevent stains.

Dr Hughes told FEMAIL: ‘We all associate tea, coffee and red wine with staining our teeth. 

‘But most of us don’t expect white wine to also be doing just that. The problem lies in the fact that white wine isn’t actually white, it’s yellow.’  

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