Undoubtedly, everyone knows the importance of brushing and flossing their teeth regularly to maintain their oral health, but does everyone know the right way of doing it? Even if brushing and flossing your teeth is second nature to you, there may be dentist-recommended techniques that can help you do it better.
Despite brushing and flossing their teeth since childhood, most people tend to develop some bad habits that can harm their teeth and gums. You may not be aware of it, but you might be brushing too hard or too quick, or perhaps you forget to brush the back of your teeth. Knowing the proper and dentist-approved way of brushing and flossing your teeth can go a long way in preventing cavities and other oral problems.
What Type of Toothbrush Should I Use?
With so many shapes, sizes and styles of toothbrushes on the market, deciding which kind to buy can be confusing. Here’s what you should look for:
Most dental professionals agree that a soft-bristled brush is best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth. Small-headed brushes are also preferable, since they can better reach all areas of the mouth, including hard-to-reach back teeth.
When it comes to the type of handle (such as non-slip grip or flexible neck), shape of the head (tapered or rectangular) and style of bristles (such as rippled, flat or trimmed to a dome shape), pick whatever is most comfortable for you. The best toothbrush is one that fits your mouth and allows you to reach all teeth easily.
For many, a powered toothbrush is a good alternative. It can do a better job of cleaning teeth, particularly for those who have difficulty brushing or who have limited manual dexterity.
How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?
A worn toothbrush can damage gum tissue. You should replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear, or every three months, whichever comes first. It’s also a good idea to change toothbrushes after you’ve had a cold, since the bristles can collect germs that can lead to reinfection.
The Proper Technique of Brushing Teeth
Now that you’ve got a proper toothbrush, it’s time to put it to use. As explained by the American Dental Association, you need to make sure that your toothbrush is at a 45-degree angle to the gums, then gently move your brush in a back-and-forth movement, making short but tooth-wide strokes.
Don’t just brush the outer surfaces of your teeth, but include your mouth’s inner and chewing surfaces too. To have fresh breath all day, brush your tongue as well, to remove bacteria. This technique will definitely help in clearing your mouth of plaque and microorganism buildup.
Once you’ve mastered the correct brushing technique, it will be easy to become accustomed to it. Dentists, however, advise against aggressively over-brushing – which can create “toothbrush abrasion” and lead to sensitive teeth and receding gums.
Vigorous brushing can wear down the enamel on the teeth, as well as damage and push back the gums, exposing the sensitive root area. Receding gums can lead to other dental problems such as periodontal disease and cavities, and may lead to the need for treatments such as fillings, root canals and tooth extraction. According to the Wall Street Journal, dentists estimate that between 10 and 20 percent of the population have damaged their teeth or gums as a result of over-brushing.
When you brush your teeth, try starting in a different place every time to ensure even cleaning. More importantly, do it for at least two minutes to remove the toughest debris. Of course, regular visits to a dentist like Dr. Monica Crooks, DDS in Sacramento can greatly help in ensuring that your mouth is free from plaque and bacteria.
10 Toothbrush Mistakes — and How to Fix Them, WebMD
Brushing Your Teeth, Mouth Healthy
American Dental Association
Wall Street Journal