Knowing how to properly brush your teeth is the first step towards fighting cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems. A good looking smile and fresh breath isn’t a bad bonus, either!
But first, let’s start with what you may be doing wrong.
The Wrong Way To Brush
Unfortunately, many adults don’t seem to have ever learned how to properly brush their teeth. Many people seem to think that brushing their teeth extremely vigorously back and forth in a zig-zag pattern is somehow doing them some good. In reality, this is missing key areas at best, and wearing down your tooth enamel at worst. In the long-term, that means you’re basically just causing yourself more problems.
If that’s how you’ve been brushing your teeth, take those old habits and toss ‘em out the window!
The Right Way To Brush
First, you need the right kind of toothbrush. Ideally, you will want a soft bristled brush that’s relatively new. That means one that was purchased within the last 3 months. You shouldn’t be brushing with a toothbrush that is overly frayed, as it simply won’t clean your teeth properly. You should also be brushing with ADA accepted Fluoride toothpaste.
Once the proper equipment has been acquired, it’s time to go to work.
- You should be brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day. Once in the morning, and once at night. To segment this time out, remember to spend about 30 seconds on each segment of your mouth – the upper right, upper left, lower right, and lower left.
- Properly positioning your toothbrush is important. Your toothbrush should be placed at a 45 degree angle for the inner and outer surfaces. Make sure that you can reach all the way to the back teeth, gently moving the toothbrush along the width of each tooth.
- Brush your teeth in a circular motion, paying attention to not only the teeth, but the gumline as well. It is important to “massage” the gumline with the toothbrush, as doing so will help clear out bacteria that could eventually lead to periodontal (gum) disease, a painful inflammation of the gums.
- Don’t forget about your tongue! You will want to clean off all of that odor-causing bacteria by brushing your tongue in a back-to-front sweeping motion.
If you have children, be sure to show them how to brush their teeth properly as well. Instilling children with proper brushing technique at a young age will go a long way in their long-term dental hygiene, preventing all kinds of dental problems in the future. Start by doing it for them as you explain how and why you are doing so, then over time, make sure they have gotten a handle on it themselves. Be sure to use a small amount of toothpaste for your young ones, generally about the size of a pea.
And don’t forget, proper dental hygiene also means making regular appointments with your dentist for an exam, x-ray, and cleaning! Maintaining proper dental care will prevent problems before they have the chance to develop.