Brushing your teeth is an activity many people take for granted. They do it without much thought to actually clean and protect their teeth. Indeed, lots of things affect our dental hygiene and habits, and you might even be practicing some techniques that could damage your teeth and gums in the long run!
So, without further ado, we’ve compiled a list of the most important dos and don’ts when it comes to brushing your teeth.
Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in food, water, and, of course, toothpaste. It has many health benefits for your teeth as it helps to strengthen your teeth’s enamel and prevent tooth decay in both children and adults. It slows down acid production in your mouth caused by bacteria.
Many kinds of toothpaste have differing amounts of fluoride, so make sure you choose the most appropriate one. Kids below three years old should have a fluoride level of 1000 ppm, and everybody else should have one between 1350-1500 ppm. Make sure to look for the American Dental Association’s stamp of approval too—it shows that the toothpaste is safe and effective to use.
Use a Good Toothbrush
You should spend some time picking out the right toothbrush. It can seriously affect how clean your teeth are. For example, when I had braces as a teenager, I opted for a different toothbrush than the one my dentist told me to get as it looked cooler. At my next dentist appointment, I ended up getting a ton of gunk taken out as my toothbrush wasn’t designed to get food from braces at all!
So, pick out a toothbrush that’s comfortable for you. You might have braces as I did, or your teeth might be more sensitive than others. Also, consider investing in an electric toothbrush—they do a better job at cleaning with minimal effort on your part.
Brush for at Least Two Minutes
Don’t just breeze your way! Take some time to really brush out everything from your mouth for a minimum of two minutes. Spend thirty seconds on each corner of your mouth, and make sure to brush both front and back sides.
Consider setting a timer to make sure you’re getting your two minutes in.
You might be tempted to brush across your teeth, but it’s actually better to brush small sections in circles and at a 45-degree angle. This is the most optimal position for your toothbrush to clean off plaque and leftover food.
Another thing that gets overlooked is brushing your tongue. It may not look like it, but a ton of bacteria are present in your tongue, and that can lead to bad breath and other dental problems. Brush the top, sides, and bottom of your tongue.
Don’t Forget to Floss
We know flossing can be a hassle, but you really should consider flossing more regularly instead of just flossing before every dentist appointment. It digs into the nooks and crannies of your teeth and makes sure nothing icky gets left behind. Brushing your teeth would be pointless if there are still leftover foods that can eventually harden to plaque and then tartar.
Make sure to floss every day or at least every other day before you brush. You’d be surprised at how much you can unearth!
Replace Toothbrush Regularly
You’ve probably already been told to replace your toothbrush every three months by overprotective loved ones and medical practitioners, but did you know you’re supposed to replace your toothbrush after getting sick too? Bacteria can remain there even after you’ve already recovered, and it’s just best to throw it out and reach for a new one.
Brushing too hard can wear down on your teeth’s precious enamel and also hurt your gums! As we mentioned earlier, you should use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush in small circles all over your teeth. Toothpaste helps chemically break down build-up in your teeth while the bristles brush them off, so there’s really no need for you to go hard with cleaning.
Rinse After Brushing
This is a pretty common bad habit that people don’t think much about. While you might be tempted to rinse after you brush, rinsing actually washes off fluoride that can help protect your teeth throughout the day. Just spit the excess toothpaste off and allow any lingering fluoride residue to stay.
Brush After Eating
You’ve probably been told before to brush after you eat to prevent bad breath, but did you know this can be detrimental?
Some of the acids we eat at mealtimes soften our teeth’s enamel. When we brush right after, we risk damaging our enamel further. Instead, do a mouth rinse right after mealtime to get rid of any food debris, and then brush your teeth at least thirty minutes after.
Sharing may be caring, but that doesn’t apply to your dental hygiene! Sharing toothbrushes involves sharing germs, bacteria, viruses, and illnesses too. Never share a toothbrush with anyone, even loved ones and family members!
As a trusted dental clinic, we only want what’s best for you and your teeth. We hope that this article helps you improve your brushing habits and keep your teeth as happy and healthy as possible.