Have you found yourself getting a scolding by your dentists when you go for your bi-annual visits? You already brush and floss, so how do you still have problems with your dental hygiene? You might be thinking “What’s the best way to brush my teeth if I want to keep them healthy?” While we all know the basics of our oral care, you might be surprised to know that there are some things that you can do to make your tooth brushing more effective. We’re here to talk about the proper way to brush teeth so you can keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Keep reading for some top teeth brushing methods and tips.
Time Spent Brushing
It’s absolutely essential that you brush your teeth a minimum of two times per day, if not more.
In the morning, many people choose not to brush until after they’ve had their morning coffee or breakfast. None of us like that combination of tastes from toothpaste and food, so this makes sense.
Once you’re done eating, wait several minutes before you brush your teeth. This might seem counterproductive, but it’s actually better for your oral health.
When we eat foods that are even a little bit acidic, they soften our enamel. Our enamel is the hard surface that protects the rest of the tooth from damage or decay.
While softening it isn’t a big deal, it’s not good to brush after it softens. The abrasive nature of the toothbrush can damage the enamel. Instead, wait about 30 minutes.
Every time you brush your teeth you should also plan to brush for two minutes or more. You don’t realize how long two minutes is until you see it in action, so try playing a two-minute song or video while you’re brushing next time.
What Toothpaste Should I Use?
Not all kinds of toothpaste are alike! Different kinds serve different purposes and there are some that you might want to avoid altogether.
While many people choose to use whitening toothpaste, these often aren’t the best for your teeth. Make sure that if you choose one, you get one with the American Dental Association’s (ADA’s) seal of approval and only use it as often as the directions suggest.
You want a toothpaste with a high enough fluoride content. While many people are opposed to fluoride, it’s one of the things that keeps your teeth strong and healthy between brushing sessions.
If you have sensitive teeth, you can seek out toothpaste that’s made for sensitivity. Whether you’ve grown more sensitive with age or you have sensitivity after a filling, this toothpaste helps a lot.
When in doubt, ask your dentist if they would prescribe a prescription toothpaste. They often have access to high-fluoride toothpaste that’s better for your teeth than what you can buy over the counter.
What Toothbrush Should I Use?
Like toothpaste, toothbrushes come in different varieties.
If you have permanent teeth, you want to get a brush with firm bristles. It’s best to get an electric toothbrush, but there’s nothing wrong with a traditional toothbrush if that’s what you have access to.
You should replace your toothbrush every three to four months. If you notice that it’s showing signs of wear and tear before that, like fraying or losing bristles, do it earlier.
Your brush won’t be as effective at getting rid of plaque if you keep it for too long.
When you’re getting ready to clean your teeth, we suggest starting with floss. You should floss at least once per day but twice is better.
When you floss, make sure that you get between every tooth. Food and plaque can hide between your teeth and lead to gum disease. If you find that flossing causes your gums to bleed, that’s all the more reason to do it (and a good reason to see a dentist).
After you floss, use a mouth rinse. Non-alcoholic mouthwash is the best choice, but when in doubt, rinse with water. This dislodges any spare debris left over after flossing.
Now it’s time to brush. Set your timer for two minutes, put a dollop of toothpaste on the brush, and start brushing.
You might be tempted to rinse after you’re done brushing your teeth, but don’t. Wait about a half-hour before rinsing your mouth or drinking anything. This lets the fluoride do its work.
The Actual Brushing Method
So you already know that a two-minute brushing session is the last step in your routine, but what are the best brushing methods?
It depends. If you have teeth without any spacing issues or orthodontic work, work your way around your teeth in a way that makes sense to you. Sometimes it’s easier to work from front to back.
Make sure that you spent equal time on your back teeth as you do your front teeth. The fact that you can’t see them makes them more susceptible to damage and decay. Take time to brush the backs of your teeth (that face your tongue) as well. It might tickle a bit.
If you have crowded teeth, make sure that you pay special attention to areas with the most crowding. It’s often hard to get the spaces in between crowded teeth as clean as you’d like.
When you have an orthodontic appliance, like braces or Invisalign, be careful when you’re going around any brackets or attachments. Not only could you damage the appliance, but you also might miss bits of debris.
When you think that you’ve brushed your entire mouth, give it another once-over to be sure that every surface is taken care of.
The Proper Way to Brush Teeth Will Save Your Oral Health
Learning the proper way to brush teeth could be the difference between getting painful cavities and having a happy and healthy mouth! It’s easy to get complacent when you’re brushing your teeth. After all, you’ve been doing it forever.
Getting too casual about your oral hygiene has consequences though, so always take care to get into all of those hard-to-reach spaces.
Are you looking for more advice on how to keep your teeth healthy and pearly-white? Learn all about tooth decay, oral hygiene, and more, on our dental health blog!