No matter your age, if you have teeth, it’s not enough just to practice great oral hygiene — this means brushing and flossing daily — but it also means being mindful of how you perform these tasks!
Brushing your teeth twice a day almost becomes automatic, something you do without thinking. Believe it or not, there’s a right way to scrub your pearly whites, and a wrong way.
Dr. Iyadh Abidi and the excellent dental clinic team not only provide diverse services to patients in need of everything from routine care to surgical dentistry to emergency procedures, but they also provide patients with education about how best to care for your oral health, and that includes brushing.
What are the signs I might need to brush up on my brushing?
Brushing can go wrong in different ways, but the most obvious signs of a problem are:
- Tooth Sensitivity
- Gum Recession
- A badly worn toothbrush
- An uptick in cavities
- Comments from your dentist about plaque and tartar buildup
These problems can be traced to different culprits, but often, it’s smart to examine what type of toothbrush you’re using and the way you go about brushing your teeth.
Picking the right toothbrush is a bit like the children’s story “The Three Bears.” You need to find one that’s “just right.” If you select one that’s soft and you don’t brush with enough pressure, your teeth will develop plaque and tartar buildup because they won’t be getting clean enough. This can lead to cavities.
All in all though, dentists recommend a soft-bristled brush because it has the flexibility to get into all the tiny nooks and crannies where bacteria can hide in your mouth.
Another practice that leads to decay is not replacing your toothbrush often enough. When the bristles become worn, frayed, and otherwise used up, your teeth are put at risk. Aim to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. You can even purchase brushes with colored bristles that fade when it’s time to replace your toothbrush.
On the other hand, if you choose a hard-bristle brush and apply excessive pressure when brushing, you can inflame your gums and actually start wearing away the protective enamel on your teeth. This is potentially serious, since teeth aren’t able to regenerate enamel. If it wears away, it can’t be replenished. So go easy on the pressure you use to brush.
You might debate about whether to use a manual or electric toothbrush, but as long as the one you choose carries the ADA Seal of Acceptance, you’re good to go.
Steps that make for the best tooth brushing technique
If you’re outfitted with a clean, new, and unworn toothbrush, it’s time to focus on the optimal way to brush:
- Brush in an up and down motion, rather than side to side.
- Don’t skimp on time — brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day
- Refrain from brushing immediately after eating — wait at least 60 minutes
- Brush so your toothbrush is at a 45-degree angle to your gums
- Clean all parts of your teeth thoroughly: front and back surfaces and the chewing edges
- Make sure your toothbrush head fits and moves easily within your mouth
- Pay special attention to your gumline when brushing
Heed this advice, and you should get your teeth good and clean every time — without putting your enamel at risk or making decay more likely.
As Dr. Abidi often says, your oral health habits serve as the foundation of your dental health. Brushing properly is critically important in maintaining the integrity and beauty of your smile.