Brushing your teeth is a simple chore that most of us don’t put much thought into. I mean how hard can it be right? Well, to do it properly it’s actually more difficult than most people think. In fact, most people are brushing incorrectly and using the wrong type of toothbrush. Our dentists have compiled tips below to help you improve your brushing and toothbrush choices.
Place your toothbrush at 45-degree angle to the gums.
This allows the bristles to hit the gums at the right level sweeping away the plaque and debris on and a little bit under the gum line.
Wait 30 mins after you eat or drink anything acidic before brushing your teeth.
Foods and drinks such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, orange juice, soda weaken tooth enamel. When you brush in this weakened state it can cause damage to the enamel of your teeth. If you wait for 30mins you let your saliva do its job neutralizing the acid and protecting your enamel.
Brush your teeth for 2 minutes at a time.
If you don’t brush your teeth for long enough you will miss spots and you won’t remove as much plaque as you would brushing for longer. Dentist find that 2 minutes is the ideal length of time to remove as much plaque as possible without wearing down the enamel of your teeth.
Don’t brush more than 3 times a day or for more than 2 minutes at a time.
Brushing too much and for too long can wear down the enamel of your teeth which can lead to cavities and gum disease. As we mentioned above 2 minutes twice a day is the ideal amount and time length to brush.
Use Soft Bristle Brushes.
Most people think hard bristles mean more cleaning power, but the opposite is actually true. Soft bristles can reach places where hard or medium bristles are too ridged to reach. Soft bristles are able to swoop slightly below the gum line in order to remove plaque that has made its way down there.
Replace your tooth brush every 3 months, or when you can see the bristles frayed.
Once fraying occurs or bristles become bent/smushed the toothbrush loses its effectiveness. As a general rule of thumb 3 months is about the amount of time it will take for a toothbrush to become damaged and lose most of its effectiveness.
Massage Don’t Scrub.
One of the biggest problem’s patients have is overbrushing. In fact, 80% of people overbrush. Unlike brushing too many times a day or for too long as we discussed earlier, overbrushing is usually caused by people brushing too hard and scrubbing back and forth. This can damage the enamel and dentin that protect your teeth. Instead of roughly scrubbing back and forth think of brushing as more of a massage. Use circular motions and gentle strokes.
Don’t forget the backs of the front teeth.
They may seem hard to reach but if you hold your brush vertical and use small strokes you can easily clean them.
Along with having soft bristles, rounded bristles provide the best results when it comes to removing plaque and preventing gingivitis.
Don’t rinse with water after you brush or eat or drink for 30 mins after.
Many people rinse with a mouth full of water after they brush or wet the brush and do one last once over. This actually keeps the toothpaste from being as effective as its supposed to be. Most toothpastes include fluoride which strengthens the enamel of your teeth. Fluoride needs time to work, so when you rinse with water after brushing you are rinsing off the fluoride that’s left on your teeth giving it no time to work. This negates the purpose of using a toothpaste with fluoride.
- Place your toothbrush at 45-degree angle to the gums.
We hope these tips allow you to brush more effectively and improve your dental health. We look forward to see your pearly whites & healthy gums at your next cleaning! To schedule an appointment call 703-291-4666 or fill out our contact form.