Brushing your teeth is so common that people accomplish it without even thinking. But some clients are disappointed to learn that they are basically not cleaning properly. For example, could you answer the following questions correctly?
How regularly should you brush your teeth?
Is it possible to brush too often?
How long must I clean?
What’s the proper cleaning technique?
Should I clean soon after eating?
How frequently should I replace my brush?
Your teeth and oral health are our Sacramento dentists’ first concern. Correctly cleaning your teeth is one of the most essential things you do for a healthy set of teeth. Let us take a few minutes to consider why you brush your teeth and some of the steps of proper brushing.
You brush teeth to remove plaque — the slimy, bacterial film that builds on teeth. Plaque is a natural enemy of your tooth; it protects acid-producing bacteria that erode teeth. Plaque leads to tooth decay and other serious complications, like periodontitis and bad breath. Dentists name plaque growth as the primary cause for over 90% of dental disease. Additionally, cleaning your teeth with fluoride toothpaste reinforces your enamel and makes teeth resistant to destruction. Finally, after cleaning your teeth you feel cleaner and your breath is fresher and everybody needs that!
What are the steps worth memorizing? Here are the most important:
1. Use the proper brush.
Toothbrushes come in different sizes. Additionally, there are a variety of brush shapes. Select one that feels good in your mouth and hand. Finally, always use a soft-bristle brush.
Should you use a manual or an electrical brush? It is basically up to you, but electrical brushes can make the job easier. Speak to the Sacramento Dentistry Group at your next visit and we can help you make the decision that’s proper for you.
2. Timing is everything.
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day; three times a day is even better. Brushing more could wear away enamel and damage your gums. How long should you brush your teeth? Proper brushing takes at least two minutes (most people finish too quickly). Try separating your teeth into four sections of 30 seconds each. You can use a watch to help you get the approximate timing. Many turn on the TV or listen to music while brushing to help pass the time; just make sure you do not brush your teeth too long or you will end up with irritated gums.
3. Know when to say when.
Energy drinks, coffee and soda — even healthy drinks like juice — include acid that softens enamel. Brushing soon after drinking these drinks can ruin your tooth’s valuable outer coating.
If you drink any one of the above, wait at least thirty minutes before cleaning your teeth. This gives the saliva time to restore the mouth. Rinsing your mouth out with water or eating sugar-free gum in the meantime is also helpful.
4. Keep it clean.
Make sure to always clean your brush. Microorganisms from your mouth can remain on it otherwise. Washing also removes leftover toothpaste that hardens bristles. Do not put it someplace where it will stay damp — a wet brush is more likely to grow bacteria. The only exception would be if you use an ultraviolet brush sanitizer.
Proper Tooth Brushing Technique
So how should you brush your teeth? Our Sacramento dentists recommend the following technique:
Grasp your brush gently and squirt a pea-sized portion of fluoride toothpaste onto the brush.
Place your brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
Gently brush the outside and inside of each tooth using short back-and-forth strokes (or use a circular motion). Start with the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, and then move to the lower teeth. Make sure to also brush the spaces between your teeth.
Next, brush the inner surfaces of the upper teeth, followed again by the lower.
Now brush the chewing surfaces. Hold the bristles flat against the molars and brush your back teeth. Do this also for the top and bottom teeth.
For fresher breath and to remove bacteria, gently brush your tongue. You can even purchase tongue scrapers, implements designed for cleaning your tongue.
Double-check your work by moving your tongue over your teeth. Do they feel smooth and slick? Good job — your teeth are clean!
When to Change Your Brush
When should you retire your brush? The ADA (American Dental Association) suggests getting a new brush every three to four months. Additionally, pay attention to your bristles. Broken, frayed or stiff bristles do not do a good job.
Do you have more questions regarding the proper brush and cleaning your teeth correctly? Make an appointment with your Sacramento dentist today by calling (916) 538-6900. You may also stop by our office at 1105 E Street or contact us through our website.