Most of us brush our teeth daily. It’s a good habit to have, but there are right and wrong ways when it comes to brushing teeth. It’s easy to get sloppy and complacent in your toothbrushing, thus leading to cavities and gum disease.
1. Finding the right toothbrush
First, you need to consider the size of your mouth when picking out a toothbrush. If you’re straining to open wide enough to put the brush in your mouth, then it may be too big. The handle also has to be comfortable, the more comfortable it is the more likely you’ll use it properly.
When it comes to an electric or manual toothbrush choice, it’s completely individual preference. A person who brushes correctly will brush well either with a manual or electric toothbrush. Some studies show that an electric toothbrush cleans 25% better than a manual. However, first thing is first: Good habits and brushing techniques.
2. Picking the right bristles
You can walk down any toothbrush aisle and see a plethora of different toothbrushes claiming their bristles are perfectly angled to get your teeth the cleanest. Again, it really doesn’t matter on the bristle angle; it all comes down to the person who is actually doing the brushing.
However, what is important is making sure that the bristles aren’t too stiff where they aggravate the gums. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a soft-bristled brush. Here, the bristles are sturdy enough to remove plaque but not hard enough to damage tooth enamel or gums when used properly.
3. Not brushing often enough or long enough
It’s recommended that you brush at least twice day, three times is optimal.
Long periods of time between brushing can create plaque to build up, increasing the risk of gum inflammation on other problems, such as cavities.
It’s also recommended that you should brush your teeth for two minutes. This ensures you clean every surface of the teeth. One tip is to divide the mouth into quadrants then brush each section for 30 seconds. Some toothbrushes even have built in timers to make sure you brush long enough.
4. Brushing too often or too hard
While brushing your teeth three times a day is ideal, anything more may be too much. Excessive brushing can expose the root of the tooth and cause irritation. Or gums may become irritate. Brushing forcefully can also wear tooth enamel.
The best way to brush is nice and gentle for two to three minutes, two to three times a day.
5. Using the wrong technique
Using long horizontal strokes around the gum line can cause damage. Instead put the bristles at the gum line at a 45-degree angle and do short circular storks. Softly brush up and down your teeth, not across. Be sure to also brush the outer and inner tooth surfaces, the chewing surfaces and even your tongue.
6. Don’t start at the same place every time
Many people just brush their teeth in the same spot over and over again. Vary where you start so you don’t get stuck in one place.
7. Don’t skip the inner tooth surfaces
Some people forget to brush the inner surfaces of their teeth. It’s even easier to forget about those surfaces because you can’t see them. However, plaque removal on the inner surface is just as important as removing it from the front of your teeth.
The most commonly skipped area is the bottom lower front teeth.
8. Not rinsing your toothbrush
An un-rinsed toothbrush can grow harmful bacterial. Then, during the next time you brush your teeth, you put old bacteria in your mouth. Always rinse your toothbrush and remove leftover toothpaste.
9. Not letting your toothbrush dry
A perpetually dry toothbrush will cultivate even more harmful bacteria. Always shake out the moisture. And if you cap the toothbrush, make sure it has ventilation for air to flow through.
10. Not changing your toothbrush often enough
The ADA recommends getting a new toothbrush every three to four months, even sooner if the bristles are starting to fray.
It’s recommended to usually go based on inspection of the bristles. Once the bristles lose normal flexibility or break apart, its time to change your toothbrush. This timeframe may be shorter or longer than three months.
Additional tip: throw away a toothbrush if you get sick. A toothbrush may harbor the illness and make you sick again!
Keystone Industries is dedicated to good oral health. While we provide important oral health care products, it’s important on knowing how to use it and keep up good oral hygiene.