JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Who knew? Turns out many of us are making mistakes when it comes to brushing our teeth.

Local dentist Dr. Janet Loy with Signature Smiles says first of all, we should all be using brushes with soft or extra- soft bristles. "Hard bristles can damage your teeth and the enamel," said Loy. 

OTHER MISTAKES:

Brushing too hard:

If you put too much muscle into brushing, even with a soft brush, you can damage your gums and the enamel around the teeth. Try to remember this: Don't brush so hard that the bristles are bending on your teeth. Electric brushes are good, too.

Toothpaste:

Dr. Loy says for children under 3 years old, smear a small amount on the brush. For children 3-6 years old, a pea size amount on the brush. Toothpaste has fluoride that can upset a child's stomach. Too much can make them sick. For adults, cover no more than half the brush with toothpaste. "Toothpaste is good, but remember it has abrasives in it," said Loy. You don't need to use too much.

Two-minute rule:

Many people don't brush their teeth long enough, says Dr. Loy.

Your tongue:

Your tongue has a lot of bacteria from what you eat or drink, so use your brush to get the front and back of your tongue or use a tongue scraper.

Storing your toothbrush:

Those travel cases can hold bacteria too. Another no-no, tossing your toothbrush in the dishwasher can damage the bristles so they can't do their job.