We all know that we need to brush our teeth daily to fight off bacteria and keep our oral hygiene in top condition. What many of us do not know, however, is that there is in fact a right and wrong way of doing so. From a very early age, most of us are taught by our parents to brush in the morning when we wake up and at night before we go to bed. Unless your mom and dad showed you the proper technique, you may not be getting all the plaque off your teeth. The latter serves as a breeding ground for bacteria.
Over time, residual buildup of food matter can feed bacteria, causing many oral problems. The main conditions to be aware of are gum disease, gingivitis, and tooth decay. While these problems won’t present themselves after just a few incorrect brushing sessions, they eventually will. That is why it is critical that children and adults know exactly how to brush. This is particularly important for kids, as their teeth are still developing and the potential for cavities is much greater. Be sure to visit your dentist at least twice a year to get a full service cleaning.
Teeth Brushing 101: Back to Basics
- Floss before brushing, not after. This will remove any stuck food particles that may be lodged between your teeth. Take the time to clean each individual crevice and don’t forget to use a clean strip of floss as you go. This will prevent bacteria from spreading around your mouth.
- Run your toothbrush under some hot water before applying toothpaste. This will moisten the bristles and make them more flexible, which is helpful for accessing hard-to-reach areas like the backsides of molars. In addition, softer bristles are recommended to avoid causing damage to your gums.
- Use toothpaste that contains fluoride; this substance works wonders at removing plaque and strengthening tooth enamel. Also, don’t overuse your toothpaste. You really only need enough to cover half of the toothbrush head. An excess amount will cause too much foam, which often leads people to finish brushing too early.
- Position the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle and brush liberally in a circular motion across all surfaces of your teeth. Scrub your molars back and forth and apply the same method when cleaning the insides of your front teeth and incisors.
- Don’t forget your tongue. You may want to use a specialized tongue brush for this to ensure the entire surface gets cleaned. Clean gently to avoid scraping the tongue’s surface.
- Rinse your mouth out with water, gargle mouthwash for 30 seconds, then rinse thoroughly once more to finish.
By following these steps, you will be ensuring the health and longevity of your teeth for years to come. It doesn’t require a lot of effort to brush your teeth properly, but it matters more than you may ever know.