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The 3 mistakes you're making in the bathroom — and how to fix them

March 18, 2014 at 2:36 PM ET

Video: As part of TODAY’s new series “Do It Right,” Dr. Jonathan Levine and Dr. Roshini Raj share some hygiene tips, including the proper way to brush your teeth.

Those mundane, daily tasks we do to take care of our bodies? You might be doing those completely incorrectly. 

As part of TODAY's Doing It Right series, Doctors Jonathan Levine and Roshini Raj stopped by Studio 1A on Tuesday to set the record straight on some everyday hygiene routines, showing off the right way to take care of your teeth and clean your ears.

Brushing

More than a third of respondents to a TODAY.com survey said they brushed their teeth for only one minute, which is a big no-no in the dental world. Not only should teeth be brushed for two minutes morning and night, but how those two minutes are divvied up is also important.

Brushing
TODAY

"30 seconds, each quarter of the mouth," Levine, a New York City dentist, told TODAY's Matt Lauer. "That's the two minutes." Levine suggests moving the brush in circular motions throughout the mouth, allowing bristles to get underneath the gums.

Flossing

When it comes to the frequently dreaded task of flossing, Levine demonstrated that instead of simply wiping floss in between teeth, you should try making a 'C' shape with the thin thread.

On the left, the correct way to floss your teeth. On the right, the common mistake many of us are making.
Brandon Goodwin / TODAY
On the left, the correct way to floss your teeth. On the right, the common mistake many of us are making.

"Make a C shape around the teeth so it slides under the gum," Levine said, as those hard-to-reach spots are often where inflammation happens in the mouth.

Flossing correctly
TODAY

Cleaning your ears

Noticing a build-up of wax in your ears? Don't reach for the cotton swab!

"You could end up pushing more wax deeper into the ear canal," Dr. Roshini Raj said. "More importantly, you could injure yourself."

Raj advises to never put anything smaller than the size of a finger in an ear canal. To wipe away excess ear wax, Raj suggests moistening a wash cloth with warm water and gently inserting it in the ear with a finger, then removing. 

Tune in to TODAY for more tips from the Doing It Right series. 

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