We all learned from an early age that brushing your teeth twice a day is key element in protecting your teeth and gums. Yet while we all learned to brush, not all of us learned how to brush well. Are you confident in your tooth-brushing prowess? See how your skills compare with this handy guide on tooth-brushing techniques.
The right toothbrush is essential to proper brushing. Start with a simple soft-bristled toothbrush. Some brushes sport fancy crisscrossed bristles and rubber as well as nylon, but these are often overhyped and add little to your brushing effectiveness.
You’ll also need a fluoride-based toothpaste. Fluoride cleans the mouth and protects the strength and integrity of your tooth enamel.
Start by rinsing your toothbrush briefly in water – this will help the toothpaste spread more easily. Be sure to apply the right amount of toothpaste. For adults, this should be a dab about the size of a pea (not a large glob like you see in commercials). Older children with permanent teeth should get half that, while younger children should use no more than a grain of rice, as they are more likely to swallow toothpaste.
Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, with the tips of the bristles angled away from the gum line. Move the brush back and forth in short, slightly circular strokes along the width of each tooth. Be sure to go over every tooth surface, including the outside, inside, and chewing surfaces, and give careful attention to your back molars. When brushing the inside surfaces of your front teeth, hold the toothbrush vertically and brush up and down.
Brushing your teeth should take a minimum of two minutes to ensure that each tooth surface receives adequate cleaning – one minute for the top arch, and one for the bottom. If you find it difficult to keep brushing for the full length, try breaking it up into 30-second stretches until it becomes routine.
Once you’re done brushing, take the time to spit, swish, and gargle to ensure that all toothpaste and food debris is completely removed. Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly and store it in an open place to dry. Follow up with flossing and a mouthwash gargle, and you’ll be well on your way to healthy, cavity-free teeth.
So how did your brushing technique stack up? Whether you’re a novice or an expert, it’s important to supplement your at-home hygiene with professional cleanings every six months to ensure that your teeth are properly looked after. For more information, contact Auburn Family Dental today!