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Posted on: January 25, 2021
The Basics of Brushing Your Teeth
We all know that having good oral hygiene is essential, not only for the appearance of your teeth but also for the health of your teeth and gums. Your smile and the overall health of your mouth depend on how well you perform simple dental care habits, including brushing your teeth and flossing. Have you ever thought about whether you’re using the right techniques? After all, you’ve been engaging in these habits for so long they’ve probably become second nature. It might be time to brush up on the basics of brushing your teeth at home. Explore the benefits of proper toothbrushing provides, and learn how you can avoid some common mistakes.
What Are the Benefits of Brushing Your Teeth?
If you don’t consistently brush and floss, you’ll likely experience a variety of dental problems. These can range from mild to serious depending on when they’re treated and how well you maintain a good oral health routine at home. These are some of the most important benefits associated with diligently brushing and flossing:
Eliminate Plaque Buildup
You’ve likely felt plaque on your teeth before. It’s a sticky, often colorless film that is constantly developing on your teeth. It forms on your teeth when the bacteria in your mouth mixes with the starchy or sugary foods and drinks we consume every day. The bacteria in plaque produce acid when it comes into contact with these sugars and starches. This acidic mixture can weaken and destroy your tooth enamel, leading to cavities.
Reduce Your Risk of Gum Disease and Periodontitis
If you don’t brush and floss every day to remove plaque, it can harden into a tough substance called tartar. Tartar is very difficult to remove and can only be removed by your dentist or hygienist. It’s also very harmful to the gum tissue and can cause inflammation, leading to red, swollen gums that bleed while brushing and flossing. These are the early symptoms of gingivitis.
If not addressed early, plaque and tartar can lead to periodontitis, a serious form of gum disease that can cause pockets of bacteria to develop between your gums and teeth. Periodontitis can also cause tooth loss since it destroys the bones that support your teeth. The best way to prevent both plaque and tartar is to carefully brush and floss each day.
Prevent Tooth Decay
When you regularly brush and floss, you’ll be removing the bacteria, plaque, and food particles that attack your tooth enamel, creating holes called cavities. If possible, try to brush after every meal to eliminate all food particles from your teeth. If you’re unable to, rinse your mouth with water to rinse away debris.
Avoid Bad Breath
Although bad breath isn’t as serious as gum disease or periodontitis, it can still have a negative effect. To remove bacteria that causes bad breath, make sure that you brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. You can also rinse your mouth with mouthwash to kill the germs that result in bad breath.
Proper Brushing Habits
Now that you know more about how brushing your teeth can prevent the most common dental problems, it’s time to get back to the basics and learn about the most effective ways to brush and floss. Get the most from your routine with these tips from our dentists and the American Dental Association (ADA):
Use the Right Technique
Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle against the gum line. Gently brush your teeth using short, circular motions. To clean the inside surfaces of your front teeth, hold your toothbrush vertically and use up and down strokes. Ensure that you brush the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces of all your teeth.
Brush for the Right Amount of Time
It takes at least two minutes to properly brush your teeth. Although this doesn’t seem like a long time, many people stop brushing before reaching the two-minute mark. You can time yourself to make sure that you’re brushing for at least two minutes. Some electric or battery-powered toothbrushes have a timer that tells you when you’ve been brushing for two minutes.
Brush Twice a Day
You should try to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Aim to make it a part of your morning and nightly routine.
Choose a Soft Toothbrush
When choosing a toothbrush, make sure that it has soft bristles. A soft-bristled toothbrush is flexible and makes it easy for you to remove plaque, food particles, and bacteria. A hard-bristled toothbrush may cause your gum tissue to recede from your teeth, exposing the tooth root. This can make your teeth very sensitive to hot, cold, or certain foods and drinks.
Your toothbrush should fit easily into your mouth and allow you to reach all areas of your mouth. For this reason, a toothbrush with a small-to-medium sized head is recommended.
Replace Your Toothbrush
It’s a good idea to replace your toothbrush once every three months or whenever it starts to become frayed or show signs of wear, whichever occurs first. Once the bristles wear down, it’s less effective at removing bacteria and plaque. You’ll also need to replace your toothbrush after you’ve been sick.
Don’t Brush Too Hard
Always apply gentle pressure when brushing your teeth. Brushing too hard can wear down your tooth enamel and may even cause your gums to recede. This can expose the tooth root and lead to tooth sensitivity.
Caring for Your Toothbrush
After you’ve finished brushing, always rinse your toothbrush with water to keep it clean. Make sure to store it standing upright and uncovered so it has a chance to air dry before you use it the next time. Don’t store your toothbrush in an enclosed space since this promotes the growth of bacteria.
Our Dentists Can Help You Improve Your Smile
To maintain the health of your smile, make sure you come into our office twice a year for cleanings and exams. Our team can also show you the proper techniques for brushing and flossing.