By now, brushing your teeth is second nature. And that's a good thing because one of the best ways to avoid a host of dental diseases and complications is to brush your teeth at least twice a day. But for tooth brushing to be truly effective, you have to know how to brush properly.
Most of us were just kids when we were first taught how to brush our teeth. Our parents may have done a great job teaching us, but it's always a good idea to brush up on your brushing techniques.
Tooth Brushing Made Easy
For truly clean teeth, dentists recommend that you brush for at least two minutes -- not 15 or 30 seconds -- two whole minutes. An easy way to make sure you're brushing long enough is to buy an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer. There are also children's toothbrushes that light up when it's time for your child to stop brushing. However you time it, don't skimp on the length of time you brush -- the two minutes are vital!
Tips on how to brush properly:
- Use short, back-and-forth and up-and-down strokes.
- Pay special attention to your gum line, back teeth and areas around any tooth filling or restoration you might have.
- Clean the inner and outer surfaces of your upper teeth first, and then clean your lower teeth.
- Brush or scrape your tongue to help prevent bad breath.
Don't forget to floss! Brushing and flossing is like peanut butter and jelly -- when you think of one you can't help but think of the other. It may seem tedious, but flossing every day is one of the best things you can do for your oral health.
Electric Toothbrush or Manual Toothbrush?
While there is evidence that certain electric toothbrushes may be more effective in the removal of dental plaque and dental tartar, some dentists will tell you that the difference is nominal. However, both children and adults have said that electric toothbrushes make it more fun to brush and that they brush more often, and longer, as a result.
Popular brands of electric toothbrushes include Sonicare® and Oral-B®. Battery-powered toothbrushes, such as those made by Colgate®, cost less than electric toothbrushes and are available at most drug stores.
According to the Mayo Clinic, choosing a toothbrush should also include these best practices:
Be selective about size, shape and bristles. Soft bristles are a must. The size and shape of your toothbrush should allow for easy access to each tooth. Make sure the toothbrush fits comfortably in your hand.
Replace your toothbrush often. Brushing your teeth with an old toothbrush is like washing with a dirty rag -- it's neither effective nor hygienic. Be sure to buy a new toothbrush every 3-4 months for optimum results.
Since your dentist is the person who is most familiar with your teeth, don't forget to get their recommendation on which type of toothbrush is best for you.
How Much Does Toothpaste Matter?
There are many brands of toothpaste that claim to whiten teeth, remove dental plaque or improve your breath. But none of these results can be achieved if you only brush for 30 seconds. On the other hand, any toothpaste should work if you're brushing the way you should. Just keep in mind that it's not necessarily the type of toothpaste that can prevent cavities, dental tartar, bad breath and tooth discoloration; it's the user wielding the toothbrush.
Don’t Disregard Dental Visits
Brushing your teeth is an essential part of your daily regimen, but remember that regular dental visits are crucial to the overall health of your teeth. By visiting your dentist twice a year for checkups and dental cleanings, and learning how to brush and floss properly, you're bound to enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile for a lifetime!
If you don't have a dentist and it's time for a dental checkup and cleaning, give us a call. We can help you find a great dentist in your area.