Admit it — brushing your teeth is so second-nature you barely think about it. But doing it right is key for a healthy mouth. It can help you avoid problems like cavities and gum disease.
We all know brushing your teeth is important to a good oral hygiene. At the very least, it prevents your mouth from smelling. Most people have been brushing their teeth for as long as they can remember. However, how many of these people are doing it the right way? Brushing your teeth the right way can be the difference between whether or not you get cavities and gum diseases.
So, how can you hone your tooth brushing skills? Follow the easy steps listed below.
Sharpen your skills with these easy-to-follow tips:
- Choose the Right Toothbrush
Not just any toothbrush is right for you. One of the factors to consider in choosing a toothbrush is its size. According to Richard H. Price, of the American Dental Association, “If you are straining to open [your mouth] wide enough to let the brush in, the brush is probably too big,”.
Your toothbrush should feel good in your mouth and in your hand, as this is very likely to make you want to use it often. Also, some people believe the harder the toothbrush bristles, the more effective it is. This is very wrong. Hard bristles can do more damage to your mouth than good. If the toothbrush is too hard, it can hurt your gums, and you shouldn’t be using it. A soft one is best.
Electric toothbrushes can make it easier to do a better job, especially if you have arthritis or other trouble with your hands, arms, or shoulders.
- Give it Time
Brushing twice a day is the recommended minimum, but some expert say three times a day is best. However many times you decide to do it, it is important that you spend at least two minutes each time. The truth is that a lot of people fall short of this number.
Another thing to do to make sure you brush effectively is to divide your mouth into four sections and spend 30 seconds on each. If you feel like two minutes is too long, you can engage in other activities such as watching TV, or any other activity. Before you know it, the two minutes will be up, and your teeth will be better for it.
- Brush in moderation
While it is recommended to brush between two and three times a day, doing so more than three times can actually have adverse effect on your teeth, because too much can wear down your teeth’s outer shell, called enamel, and damage your gums.
Also, don’t use too much force when brushing. It doesn’t take too much to remove plaque from the teeth.
- Perfect Your Tongue
It goes without saying that brushing your tongue properly is one of the secrets to preventing bad breath. So it is advised you pay special attention to your tongue when brushing. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums, and make an up-and-down motion, using short strokes.
Brush outer and inner tooth surfaces, back molars, and your tongue.
Also, don’t forget about those hard-to-reach areas. If you aren’t thorough, plaque has time to sit in your mouth and cause damage.
- Switch things up
Do you always begin in the same place? Dentists say most of us do.
“Start in a different place so that you don’t get lazy,” Price says. By the time you get to the last area of your mouth, you may be bored. Stay aware of what you’re doing.
“Keep track of where you are going and where you have been. Make it to all the surfaces,”
- Choose the right products
The kind of toothpaste and mouth wash you use is very important. The ones that brighten or control tartar can be harsh. Use fluoride toothpaste, as they are gentler on the teeth, and also fortify your teeth against decay. If you want to whiten your teeth, you can always switch between whitening toothpaste and regular ones.
- Cut back on sweet food and drinks
Energy drinks, diet sodas, and candies – even healthy things like apple juice, orange juice, and coffee— have acid that can soften tooth enamel. If however you can’t help it, you should wait at least half an hour before you brush. That gives your saliva enough time to restore tooth enamel.
- Store toothbrushes properly
A lot of people store their brushes in the bathroom. It should be noted however that this not the most hygienic place in the house. Consider storing it somewhere else, where it is not likely to be exposed to bacteria from the toilet or sink.
Also, make sure your toothbrush is upstanding in a holder, and also, don’t let two brushes touch if they’re stored together.
Let yours air dry — a moist brush is more likely to grow bacteria. Use a cover that lets air in when you travel.
- Don’t hold on
Your toothbrush should not at any point in time, be more than 3 months (four at the most). Also, you should conduct what experts call “the eye test”. This means, once the bristles lose their normal flexibility and start to break apart, it is time to whip out a new toothbrush.
If you can’t decide which toothbrush to get, asking your dentist for advise on which kind to buy, is always a good idea.