Take care of your teeth today and you can avoid dental treatment tomorrow. But while oral hygiene is good for your teeth and gums, if you do it wrong, you could inadvertently send yourself to the dentist to correct a painful dental condition.

If you are making the following oral hygiene mistakes, then stop now. Otherwise, you could damage your teeth and gums.

1. Using toothpicks instead of floss

Toothpicks are bad for your gums. This is because the wood can splinter and pierce your gum tissue as you clean your teeth. And toothpicks are rough in general. This means using them often will irritate your gum tissue and lead to infections.

2. Flossing your teeth too much

Although floss is much softer and more hygienic than toothpicks are, too much flossing is a bad thing for your gums. Stick to flossing just once a day. Any more than that, and you could damage your gum tissue and cause gum recession.

3. Brushing your teeth too soon after a meal

Many foods contain acids that eat into tooth enamel. Your saliva usually helps to neutralize acids in foods. And after a meal, given time, your saliva will neutralize all acids. This is why you should wait around 30 minutes before brushing your teeth if you often do so after meals. Brushing your teeth immediately after a meal, while acid is still present, could force those acids deeper into your enamel.

This will damage your enamel and increase the risk of tooth decay.

4. Skipping nightly brushing sessions

Even if you are exhausted after a long day, never skip your nightly brushing session. If you don't brush your teeth before going to bed, the bacteria in your mouth will flourish. Since many types of oral bacteria cause tooth decay, skipping brushing at night leaves your teeth at the mercy of oral bacteria.

5. Not brushing your tongue

Your tongue should also be an important part of your oral hygiene routine. This is because the bumps, valleys and ridges on your tongue are the perfect environment for plaque. In fact, there is usually more plaque on your tongue than there is on your teeth. So, even if you brush your teeth well but skip your tongue, your mouth will still be full of bacteria-laden plaque.

Bacteria can easily spread from your tongue to your teeth.

Have your oral hygiene practices damaged your teeth or gums? Then you could benefit from a dental checkup to make sure that your teeth and gums are ok.