The steps for brushing teeth correctly are more of a mystery to people than you might think. At Healthy Smiles, we've been providing family dental services to Staten Island and the surrounding area for years, and the one thing that is consistently a mystery to most of our clients is how to brush correctly. Today, we're talking about the 10 steps for brushing teeth effectively. Because the better you brush, the less you'll need us!
The majority of people throw some toothpaste on a brush, swirl it around their mouths, and call it a day. Of course, this is a slight exaggeration, but not by much. Most people know that you should brush your teeth for two minutes, but they often don't know how to use those two minutes effectively.
In addition to the actual act of brushing, you should consider the kind of toothbrush you use along with its age and what kind of toothpaste you use. These all play roles in brushing your teeth that are just as important as how you brush your teeth.
At Healthy Smiles, we recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Medium and hard-bristled toothbrushes can damage the gums, root surface, and tooth enamel over time, especially if you have "soft" teeth. In addition, avoid toothbrushes with natural bristles, as these can harbor bacteria. Finally, choose a toothbrush with a head that's small enough to easily brush the surfaces of all your teeth and a handle that you can hold comfortably.
Most of us have seen a toothbrush that's been used for so long that the bristles are splayed out and have worn away. They often look like something you'd use to clean grout rather than your teeth. Never use a toothbrush to that point. Once a toothbrush's bristles lose their firmness and structure, they also lose their ability to adequately clean your teeth.
Replace your toothbrush when the bristles are frayed and no longer stand up straight. This is typically just a few months. Toothbrushes are cheap, so don't sacrifice your oral health for pennies. It's not worth it.
Choosing the right toothpaste plays an important role in your mouth's health. Toothpaste comes in a wide variety of choices. You can find whitening, desensitizing, tartar control, and breath-freshening toothpaste. The variety you choose is completely up to personal preference. However, you should always choose a toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride helps remove plaque and strengthens tooth enamel.
We are continually surprised at how many patients consider the twice-a-day rule for brushing optional. One of the most essential steps for brushing teeth is doing it twice a day.
Food residue can form plaque in just eight hours, which means that brushing just once a day allows plenty of time for plaque to build up on your teeth. Brushing twice a day ensures that as much plaque as possible is removed from your teeth every single day.
Correctly brushing your teeth involves more than simply making sure the toothbrush's head comes into contact with your teeth. To brush your teeth with the right technique:
Some people assume that more is better. They almost seem to attack their teeth with their toothbrush. While vigorous brushing might seem like it would be more effective, the reality is that brushing too aggressively can damage tooth enamel and gums and wear out your toothbrush more quickly.
The bacteria that lives on your tongue is hard to remove and simply rinsing with mouthwash won't do the job. Brush your tongue with fresh toothpaste as far back as comfortably possible to remove a massive amount of bacteria to help keep your breath fresh and your mouth healthy.
Flossing is one of the most important steps for brushing teeth effectively that people often skip. We know it's a figurative pain to floss every time you brush, but it can become a literal pain if you don't.
No matter how well you brush your teeth, you can't get everything with a toothbrush. Flossing gets all the small bits of food debris and plaque between the teeth that your toothbrush simply can't reach.
At Healthy Smiles, we highly encourage all of our patients to use mouthwash. It's an important final step in the brushing process. While brushing and flossing remove as much plaque and debris as possible from the teeth and the spaces between them, even they can't get everything. Rinsing vigorously with mouthwash for 30 seconds kills any remaining bacteria hiding in between teeth as well as the bacteria that can collect on the insides of the cheeks.
Understanding the 9 steps for brushing teeth effectively can help you make the most of your twice-daily brushing routine. While any tooth brushing is better than none, when you know how to do it correctly, it will vastly improve the overall health of your mouth. And while we take pride in providing family dental services to Staten Island residents, we always love it when we don't see you that often!
If you're overdue for a cleaning, have tooth pain, have been considering dental implants, or simply need a check-up, schedule an appointment with us. We'll do our best to keep your mouth as healthy as possible and keep you out of our office as much as possible.