October is National Dental Hygiene Month and to celebrate, we wanted to talk a bit about the “Daily 4:” Brush, Floss, Rinse and Chew!
Today, we are focusing on how to properly brush teeth.
Proper Brushing is Key
We all know we need to brush our teeth twice a day. And that’s American Dental Association’s (ADA) recommendation. It’s suggested to brush with a soft-bristle brush for two full minutes with a brush that allows you to reach all areas of your mouth easily.
Start with your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your gums then gently move the brush back and forth in short strokes as wide as your tooth. Be sure to get the fronts, backs and chewing surfaces of the teeth, including behind your back molars- a place typically missed. Brush your tongue as well to remove bacteria to promote fresh breath.
Other Brushing Tips
Be gentle. Use a soft-bristle brush and don’t press hard against your teeth. Hard bristles and firm pressure may seem like they are doing more work but can actually wear down your tooth enamel and cause bleeding or damage to your gums.
Let it breathe. Your toothbrush should be stored so the bristles can dry and not touching other brushes in order to reduce bacteria spread.
If it’s frayed, throw it away! Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
Helping Kids to Brush
If your child doesn’t like to brush, you aren’t alone. Here are some fun ways to teach them how to properly brush teeth and encourage healthy oral health habits in your kids:
• Establish a tooth brushing routine. As part of your morning and night routine, make tooth brushing part of the habit. A regular schedule and checklist of activities keeps kids from forgetting.
• Hum along. A common problem for both adults and kids is not brushing for enough time. While brushing, hum a song to keep you brushing for a full two minutes. Set a timer, or play a 2 minute song so everyone knows when enough time has elapsed.
• Promote oral health and how to properly brush with games. The American Dental Association has several worksheets and games designed to help kids understand healthy choices in dental care practices. Find those and other dental resources here.
• Try a fun toothbrush and/or toothpaste. Kid focused oral care items have been created to help kids be excited about brushing. Let your child pick out their toothbrush or give them as gifts during holidays so they look forward to the treat of a new toothbrush.
• Be silly. Dry erase markers wipe easily off of mirrors. You, or the kids, can draw features such as bushy eyebrows, beards or eye patches on the mirror for the child to line up their reflection and brush their teeth.
Whether adult or child, establishing and maintaining healthy oral habits including regular brushing is important. Seeing a dental health practitioner twice a year is part of that routine as well. Find your next dentist at PERFECT TEETH today!