How to Brush
Brushing your teeth is probably so second nature that you do it without much thought. But some people are startled to learn that they aren’t really brushing properly. For example, could you answer the following questions correctly?
- Is it possible to over brush?
- How long should I brush my teeth?
- How consistently should you brush your teeth?
- What’s the proper brushing technique?
- Must I brush my teeth soon after drinking or eating?
- How frequently should I change my toothbrush?
Your teeth and oral health are our Littleton dentists’ first priority. Properly brushing your teeth is one of the most indispensable things you should do for a healthy mouth. Let us take a few moments to explain why you brush your teeth and some of the steps of healthy brushing.
Why You Brush
Brushing our teeth to removes plaque – the sticky, bacteria-filled biofilm that builds on teeth. Plaque is the common enemy of your tooth; it contains acid-producing dental bacteria that decay tooth enamel. Plaque leads to tooth decay and other serious complications, like gum disease and bad breath. Estimates point to plaque growth as the primary cause for over 90% of dental procedures.
Also, brushing your teeth with fluoride paste reinforces your teeth and makes your mouth resistant to bacteria. Lastly, after brushing your teeth you feel cleaner and your breath is fresher – everyone wants that!
Tooth Brushing Steps
What are the steps worth remembering? Here are the most important:
1. Use the correct toothbrush.
Toothbrushes come in many sizes. Also, there are a variety of toothbrush shapes. Choose one that feels good in your hand and mouth. Lastly, always use a soft-bristle toothbrush.
Should you use an electrical or a manual toothbrush? It’s basically up to you, but electrical brushes will make the job easier. Speak to the experts at Colorado Dental Arts at your next examination and we will help you make the choice that’s right for you.
2. Timing is everything.
You should clean your teeth at least twice a day; three times a day is even better. Brushing more could wear down teeth and harm your gums.
How long should you clean your teeth? Proper brushing necessitates at least two minutes (most men and women finish too soon). Try splitting your mouth into four sections of thirty seconds each. You can use a timer to help you acquire the right timing. Some view TV or listen to music while brushing to help pass the time; just make sure you do not clean your teeth too long or you’ll end up with irritated gums.
3. Know when to say when.
Energy drinks, coffee and soda – even healthy drinks like fruit juice – feature acid that wears away teeth. Cleaning soon after consuming these drinks can ruin a tooth’s valuable protective coating.
If you drink any one of the above, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. This gives your saliva time to clean the enamel. Rinsing your mouth out with water or chewing sugarless gum in the meantime is also helpful.
4. Keep it clean.
Make sure to always rinse your toothbrush. Otherwise, microorganisms from your mouth will thrive on it. Cleaning also removes leftover paste that hardens bristles. Do not put it in a place where it will stay damp – a moist toothbrush is more likely to encourage dental bacteria. The only exception might be if you use a UV toothbrush sanitizer.
Best Tooth Brushing Technique
So how should you clean your teeth? Our Littleton dentists teach the following technique:
- Grasp your toothbrush gently and squirt a pea-sized portion of fluoride toothpaste onto the toothbrush.
- Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Gently clean the outside and inside of each tooth using short back-and-forth strokes (or use a circular motion). Start with the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, and then move to the lower teeth. Make sure to also clean the spaces between your teeth.
- Next, clean the inner surfaces of the upper teeth, followed again by the lower.
- Now clean the chewing surfaces. Hold the bristles flat against the molars and clean your back teeth. Do this also for the top and bottom teeth.
- For fresher breath and to remove dental bacteria, gently clean your tongue. You can even purchase tongue scrapers – handy tools designed for cleaning your tongue.
Check your work by moving your tongue over your teeth. Do they feel smooth and slick? Good job – your teeth are clean!
When to Change Your Toothbrush
When should you swap out your toothbrush? The ADA (American Dental Association) suggests getting a new toothbrush every three to four months. Also, pay attention to your bristles. Broken, stiff or frayed bristles do not do a good job.
Do you have more questions regarding your toothbrush and brushing your teeth properly? Make an appointment with your Littleton dentist today by calling (303) 872-9436. You may also stop by our office at 9102 W. Ken Caryl Avenue or contact us through our website.