Brushing your teeth is one of the most fundamental things you can do for protecting your oral health. Yet the only lesson most people get about teeth brushing comes when they are kids - and a second thought is rarely ever given in adulthood.
Just how well are you brushing your teeth? Maybe it is time to take a moment to reassess your oral hygiene routine to ensure that you are receiving the greatest reward for your efforts.
The Proper Brushing Technique
Before we go any further, let's have a simple step-by-step review of the proper brushing technique.
With a small amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush, begin brushing the outer surface of your teeth at a 45 degree angle. Brush the inside (or backside) of your teeth just as you did the front. Next, brush the chewing surface of your teeth, back and forth. And, finally, brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper and then rinse your mouth with water.
The Right Toothbrush
Properly brushing starts with having the right toothbrush. Many people are inclined to think that a hard toothbrush will do the best job of cleaning your teeth when really you benefit most from a soft toothbrush. Hard - or even medium - bristles can actually damage your tooth enamel. Further, the head of the toothbrush should be small enough to reach all areas of your mouth - including those teeth far back in your mouth. Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.
Brushing your teeth is something you should do at least twice each day - when you wake up and when you go to bed. But ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal when possible. When you eat, you give food particles and debris a chance to tuck away into crevices and hide, only to potentially turn into biofilm hours later.
Use a Timer
There is a sweet spot of time that you should be brushing your teeth to ensure that you have done a thorough job - and that’s about 2-3 minutes. Do what you can to allow yourself to brush for this amount of time. It may help to brush while listening to a song or even set a timer so you always know that you have spent enough time on your teeth. To help with the timing of how long to brush use a timer or the electric toothbrush has a built in timer.
Your Toothpaste Matters
If you have ever paid attention to the shelves in the toothpaste aisle, then you know there are so many different types to choose from. There is whitening toothpaste, baking soda and peroxide toothpaste, fluoride toothpaste, and desensitizing toothpaste - as well as all types of flavors. While it is important to look for a toothpaste that has the ADA seal on it, you will want to talk to your dentist about the best type of toothpaste for your dental needs.
Don’t Forget Your Tongue
Your tongue remains in close quarters with your teeth and gums at all times. This means that the bacteria and buildup that impact your teeth and gums will also impact your tongue. The result? Cleaning your teeth and your gums will not fully clean your mouth - unless you clean your tongue, too. A tongue scraper can help reduce bacteria on the tongue surface.
Dental Care at Total Dental Care
If you are interested in learning more about improving your oral hygiene routine, the dental team at Total Dental Care welcomes the opportunity to teach you. And, if you’ve got some oral health issues, addressing them while implementing your new oral care techniques can reduce the incidence of major dental problems down the road.
To schedule an appointment, contact us at 240-813-9111. Or, request an appointment online.