Brushing Your Teeth Properly
We often recommend that our patients in invest in an an electric toothbrush. It often can make a serious difference in their oral hygiene. But for those who either don’t want to invest in an electric toothbrush, or like to brush manually, knowing how to properly brush your teeth is critical to successful oral hygiene. Your odds of maintaining healthy teeth and gums will skyrocket, and your risk of tooth decay and gum disease, the major causes of tooth loss, will plummet.
Before You Begin Brushing
While there are several methods of brushing teeth with a manual toothbrush, always ask your dental professional for their recommendation and be sure to follow their instructions. To start, use fluoride toothpaste with a soft-bristle toothbrush, and don’t forget to replace it every three months.
Two Minutes, Twice A Day
To brush your teeth correctly, spend at least two minutes using a recommended technique, which includes 30 seconds brushing each section of your mouth (upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left), both morning and night. Since most manual toothbrushes don’t have built-in two-minute timers, you may want to have a clock handy so you can be sure you’re brushing long enough.
Positioning the Toothbrush
How you hold the toothbrush depends on which part of the tooth you’re brushing.
Step 1: Start with outer and inner surfaces, and brush at a 45-degree angle in short, half-tooth-wide strokes against the gum line. Make sure you reach your back teeth.
Step 2: Move on to chewing surfaces. Hold the brush flat and brush back and forth along these surfaces.
Step 3: Once you get to the inside surfaces of your front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and use gentle up-and-down strokes with the tip of brush.
Step 4: Be sure to brush gently along the gum line.
Step 5: Brush your tongue in a back-to-front sweeping motion to remove food particles and help remove odor-causing bacteria to freshen your breath.
Now that you’ve learned proper brushing technique, a little discipline in practicing it every day will help make it feel like second nature. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to maintain the health of your teeth and gums.
Choosing A Good Toothbrush
How do you go about choosing a toothbrush? Sometimes, it’s not easy. There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to purchasing a toothbrush, which makes it difficult to know what to look for. Start by asking your dentist and hygienist for a recommendation.
In addition, here are some general tips on what to look for:
- Small brush head and well-designed bristles: Choose a toothbrush with a small brush head and a bristle design that helps you to get to the hard-to-reach places of your mouth.
- Soft bristles: Your toothbrush should have soft bristles that are gentle on your teeth and gums.
- Comfortable handle: Many toothbrushes have non-slip grips which make them easy to use even if wet. Additionally, the handles on many Oral-B toothbrushes have been modeled based on research into the five different ways that people hold their toothbrush while brushing.
Types Of Brush Heads
Some specialized types of brush heads include:
- Angled. An angled toothbrush head helps reach the insides of your teeth, especially the insides of your lower and upper front teeth. These areas can be susceptible to tartar buildup because, for some people, they’re harder to reach with a standard toothbrush head.
- Compact vs. Full Size. A compact toothbrush head is smaller than a full-size and has fewer bristles. Some people, especially those with small mouths, find compact heads easier to use. But other people simply prefer a full-size brush head, so you may want to try both and choose the one that works best for you.
Remember that regular replacement of toothbrushes contributes to maintaining a consistently high level of oral hygiene because clinical research shows a new toothbrush can remove up to 30% more plaque than one that’s three months old.