You do it twice a day or more every day (right?!) but chances are you can benefit from a quick reminder of the proper way to brush your teeth. Follow these rules and you’ll qualify for the Golden Toothbrush award at your next regular cleaning session with Lynette or Patty.
Brush Twice A Day
Brushing your teeth regularly and thoroughly is probably the single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease. Bacteria-laden plaque needs to be brushed off on a regular basis before it has the chance to break down tooth enamel or inflame the gums. By not letting plaque get an upper hand, you are helping to ensure that your smile stays healthy for a long time.
Choose Gentle Bristles and Brush Gently
Our recommendation is in line with that of the American Dental Association: It’s best to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and use it with a gentle technique. Brushing with harder bristles or really “getting in there” with a lot of pressure is not only not necessary to remove plaque, it actually puts you at risk of wearing away enamel or irritating your gums. Plaque is soft and with thorough brushing should come off without force. To help ensure you’re brushing gently, hold your toothbrush like a pencil – no white knuckles allowed.
The purpose of brushing your teeth is to get rid of harmful bacteria, and the rule of thumb is that it takes at least 2 full minutes to remove plaque from all the tooth surfaces. Brushing for less than 2 minutes means you’re probably missing some plaque.
- To brush outer tooth surfaces, hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums all the way around.
- For the inner surfaces, hold the brush at a 45-degree angle from the teeth at the back of the mouth up to the “eye teeth” (also known as the cuspids or canines).
- To brush the inner surfaces of the front teeth, hold the toothbrush vertically and brush up and down with the tip of the brush from the gum line to the ends of the teeth.
- After all tooth surfaces have been brushed, lightly brush the tongue (back and front) and then rinse with warm water.
Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly
Doing the right thing and brushing those pearly whites twice a day means your toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months. After that, the brush is no longer dependable for removing plaque effectively and should be replaced. Side note: you should definitely replace your toothbrush if it has frayed or flared bristles – and if your toothbrush is in that condition, it likely means you’re brushing too hard.
Use Good Toothbrush Hygiene
Always wash your hands before touching your toothbrush. Clean your toothbrush after every use by holding it under warm running water and roughly rubbing your thumb over the bristles. Store your toothbrush head up in a clean open air container – not in an enclosed case or where the brush will touch other toothbrushes or surfaces.
To your health!