We start brushing our teeth at such a young age that most of us don’t give a second thought to technique or whether we’re doing it properly. How hard is it, after all? You just brush and then you’re done, right? Well, we hate to break it to you, but there’s a little bit more to it than that and a surprising number of people don’t brush their teeth as well as they should. Below, we’ll go over how to brush your teeth the right way for a beautiful, healthy smile.
Choose the Right Toothbrush and Toothpaste
When it comes to your toothbrush, opt for soft bristles over stiff ones. Many patients feel that their teeth are cleaner with a hard-bristled toothbrush and while that may be true, the downside is that those hard bristles can wear away your tooth enamel and cause gum recession. Choose a soft, gentle brush—as long as you brush a minimum of two minutes (more on that later!), your teeth should be just as clean as they were with your old stiff-bristled brush. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
As for toothpaste, look for one that’s made with fluoride, an important mineral that helps strengthen your teeth and prevent cavities. You only need a pea-sized amount of toothpaste or, if you’re helping a child under 3 brush, a smear the size of a grain of rice.
Use Proper Tooth Brushing Techniques
You’ve wet your brush and you’ve placed a dab of toothpaste on the bristles. Now it’s time to brush!
You should be brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day—morning and night. Most people believe they’re brushing for two minutes, but two minutes can feel quite a bit longer than you might think. Set a timer on your phone while you brush to make sure you’re doing the job.
Preventive dentistry isn’t just a matter of coming to our office for regular dental cleanings and exams—it also involves doing your part by taking care of your teeth at home as well. Plaque builds up on teeth and softens tooth enamel so it is best to monitor your children’s oral health daily and visit the hygienist every 6 months. We have Oral Health Therapists on staff to help train young children to brush correctly and more efficiently since brushing techniques change over time.
It’s important to brush all of your teeth for the same amount of time. This means you need to brush the fronts of your teeth, the backs of your teeth, and also the chewing surfaces. It can help to divide your teeth into four quadrants: upper right, upper left, lower right, and lower left. Spend 30 seconds on each quadrant, focusing on doing a thorough job.
As for the brushing itself, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and use short circular strokes. Once you’ve brushed your teeth, give your tongue a quick brush as well for fresher breath.
Don’t Forget to Floss
In addition to brushing for two minutes twice a day, you should also be flossing at least once a day—preferably just before bedtime so you can remove any food particles that have built up over the course of the day. Floss between all of your teeth and gently work the floss down to the gum line. If your gums bleed when you floss, it’s a sign that you’re not flossing enough or it could also be a symptom of gum disease.
Schedule an Appointment
Visit our Auckland dental practice if you’re due for a visit to the dentist, we’d love to see you. Contact us today at 09 631 5416 to speak with one of our dental experts or schedule an appointment with our online booking system.