How to Brush Your Teeth Properly
If there is one thing that most people hate, it is going to the dentist. The mere mention of a dentist chair can turn an otherwise well-adjusted man or woman into a bundle of nerves and excuses faster than a missed anniversary.
This unwillingness to commit to a dental appointment means that brushing properly at home is even more important than ever. Despite advances in dentures, you only get one set of adult teeth unless you have a relative who was part shark.
Here are a handful of things to keep in mind the next time you grab your toothbrush and begin the arduous process of brushing your teeth.
Brush at Least Twice a Day
No matter how poor your current brushing technique might be, you need to go at it at least twice a day to keep your teeth in top shape. Ideally, you would brush after every meal, but most people frown upon the idea of taking a toothbrush to work and having a scrub in the employee washroom.
Generally speaking, any toothpaste with fluoride in it will be fine. You probably also want to go with a toothpaste that has been approved by your local dental association, but you don’t need one with the sparkles, bright colours or authentic bacon flavour.
Know Thy Brush
Before you lift brush to mouth, you want to make sure that you are using a soft bristled brush. In fact, every dentist since the beginning of time has told every patient they have ever had that they should use soft bristled brushes, so it remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time as to why toothbrushes even come in any other style.
Using a hard bristled brush can result in microscopic cuts, scrapes and abrasions on your gums. Hard bristled brushes are great for cleaning shoes, sinks or shower corners.
The Motion is the Key
Now that you have the right brush and the right toothpaste (sans bacon flavour), you can begin the act of brushing. Make sure you hold your toothbrush at an angle against your teeth and gums and use either small circular patterns or short back and forth motions.
Go from tooth to tooth and try to do the front and back of each one. For some reason, it is human nature to walk around your bathroom or even your entire home while brushing. Stop this habit and brush in front of a mirror so you can see what it is you are doing exactly.
When in doubt, just invest in an electric toothbrush and let it do all the work for you!
Over, Around and Through
One of the biggest problems for many brushers, especially those that view brushing as a race, is that they don’t clean the entire tooth. We see the front of the tooth looking back at us in a mirror, so we assume that is the only part of the tooth that really needs to be cleaned, but it is the chewing surface that really needs the most attention, especially in the back of your mouth.
Take extra time to really get in those tiny crevices that dot the top of your molars and try to clean the back of your teeth, as well.
You can’t be expected to do a complete and thorough job if you only spend a second or two on each tooth. According to the American Dental Association, you should spend about two minutes total brushing your teeth each time you do it. If you happen to take a little bit longer, congratulations, you are one of the few people actually doing a better job than you have to. You have a much better chance of getting kissed by a random person on the street.
Gentle into the Night
Perhaps the most important part of brushing your teeth is the amount of force you use. With the right toothpaste, a new toothbrush and the right technique, a gentle scrub will be more than adequate to rid your mouth of plaque and foul odour. By pressing as hard as you can, you are simply costing yourself precious enamel and a mouthful of blood from tiny cuts you make in your gums. Unless this is your goal, you are better off using a feather touch.
New is Better
On average, a toothbrush can last you about four months, but if you wear braces and you are shredding your brush sooner than that, you may want to renew every month or so. One last note, you don’t need the fancy new brush with the gum massagers and remote control attached to the end. A basic brush is all you need to keep your mouth in top shape.
DENTAL CARE IS NOT EXPENSIVE! Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss are all cheap!