The DOs and DON’Ts of Toothbrushing
Daily teeth brushing can be a mindless activity. It is part of your everyday routine, you shower, comb your hair, brush your teeth and get dressed. Since there isn’t much thought involved, it is easy to fall into bad habits.
Therefore, for optimal oral health, it is important to learn proper brushing technique early and to stick with it.
- Use the Right Technique: Start by holding your brush at a 45-degree angle at the gum line. Gently brush in a circular motion. This is the most effective method for removing dental plaque.
- Brush for The Correct Amount of Time: Efficient teeth cleaning requires a minimum of two minutes. To ensure you are brushing long enough, try listening to your favorite song or setting a stopwatch. Keep in mind, it isn’t just about the time, it is important to clean all teeth surfaces.
- Brush Morning and Night: Teeth brushing, and flossing should be considered essential daily and nightly tasks. Avoid late night snacking and falling asleep without cleaning your teeth. Sleeping after eating boosts your risk of developing cavities.
- Replace Your Brush: The standard ADA recommendation is to replace your toothbrush every three or four months. Repeated use causes bristles to fray and become less efficient at removing plaque, bacteria and food particles. You should also switch to a new brush after battling an illness. If not, you may re-infect yourself.
- Don’t Put Your Gum Health at Risk: Always clean your teeth with a soft-bristled brush and use a gentle touch. Brushing too hard or with hard bristles can damage enamel and lead to gum recession. Receding gums expose the tooth root that houses the nerves. This can cause painful tooth sensitivity and make you more susceptible to gum disease.
- Don’t Brush Immediately After Eating: Wait at least half an hour after eating before brushing your teeth. When you chew food, mouth bacteria produce a harmful acid that softens tooth enamel. If you brush immediately after eating, you can easily damage the weakened enamel. The best thing to do is rinse your mouth with water after a meal or chew sugar-free gum. Both measures will wash bacteria away from teeth.
- Don’t Ignore the Rest of Your Mouth: Remember to clean the roof of your mouth and tongue. In many cases, bad breath is caused by excess plaque and bacteria on the tongue. It is very important to brush or scrape your tongue and clean your whole mouth.
- Don’t Forget to See Your Dentist: Good daily oral hygiene practices are essential, yet no matter how diligent you are, or how well you brush, you still need to keep up with twice yearly dental visits. Professional teeth cleanings and comprehensive exams allow your dentist to detect oral health problems early and avoid future issues.
These small things can make a big difference when it comes to protecting your smile. The habits you practice every day have a big impact on your oral health and the appearance of your teeth.