Anyone who has ever watched a seven-year-old brush their teeth knows there is definitely a wrong way to brush teeth. You might even know a grown-up or two who doesn’t know the correct way to brush teeth.
It seems like such a simple task, yet mistakes are common. Maybe you don’t brush long or often enough. Your toothbrush might be too hard or too old. Perhaps you don’t always hit all of the areas of your mouth. And then there was that time (or two) when you went to bed without brushing your teeth. We’ve all been there.
Brushing well removes food and plaque from your teeth and gums. Plaque that is not removed can harden into tartar. Learn how to brush your teeth the right way in order to prevent cavities, gum disease, and to maintain optimal oral health for your whole family.
What You Need to Brush Teeth Correctly
1. Time (Just a Little Bit)According the American Dental Association, you should be brushing for at least two minutes, twice a day. Setting a timer can be a helpful way to get the full two minutes. There are even apps with music made just for helping kids know when they’re done.
2. The Right Toothbrush
Look for a soft- or medium-bristled, manual or powered toothbrush with the ADA seal for safety and efficacy. Your toothbrush should be one that you find easy to use and allows you to reach all of the areas in your mouth.Toss your toothbrush and get a new one if yours is:
- Over three months old
- Showing wear or
- If you’ve recently had a cold (the bristles can hold on to germs)
3. Simple Toothpaste
Any fluoride toothpaste will do the job. In fact, you don’t need any of the bells and whistles. Usually, our dentists recommend ordinary toothpaste to save a few bucks and to be kind to sensitive teeth and gums (some whiteners and additives can irritate sensitive spots in the mouth).
This Is How You Brush Your Teeth Correctly
Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Move the brush back and forth in short strokes. Be firm, yet gentle–this is not the time to take your aggressions out from the day. Don’t forget to floss daily before or after you brush your teeth.
- Brush the outer surfaces, the inside surfaces and the chewing surfaces of all teeth.
- Tilt the brush vertically and make up-and-down strokes to clean the inside surface of the front teeth.
- Pay extra attention to hard-to-reach teeth, fillings, crowns or other areas that are good hiding places for debris.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
- Rinse remaining toothpaste and debris from mouth and toothbrush with tap water.
- Optionally, you can rinse your mouth with mouthwash*.
Practice the correct way to brush teeth, floss daily, and get regular checkups to maintain healthy teeth and gums. If you have questions, contact a PERFECT TEETH dental office near you!
*Mints, gum, and mouthwash are not a substitute for brushing and flossing