It’s never too soon or too late to check your teeth brushing technique. Here are some tips and tricks to help brighten your smile and fight off the plaque that causes bad breath.
When you think of oral health, brushing seems like the obvious answer, but when was the last time you analyzed your brushing technique? I asked my husband, who is a dentist, to share some of the basics that people commonly overlook.
1 . Time yourself.
2 minutes is ideal. It’s easy to quickly brush and just assume that it’s been 2 minutes, but using a timer might surprise you. Time yourself for 5 consecutive days to calibrate your internal brushing clock. Also, going longer isn’t necessarily better. Every time you brush you remove a very very tiny microscopic minuscule layer of your enamel, but if you overdo it you’ll end up with yellow looking teeth earlier in life.
2. Reach, reach, reach.
Make sure you reach all surfaces of all teeth. You can use an over-the-counter disclosing solution to check your efficiency. A lot of people will miss the outside surface of their upper molars because when you open wide, your jaw bone can get in the way and prevent the toothbrush from reaching all the way back. If you close your teeth together when brushing this area, it’s easier to fit the head of the toothbrush all the way back.
3. Use toothpaste with fluoride.
Make sure you’re using a fluoridated toothpaste. One of the main components of enamel is hydroxyapatite – a very strong molecule that, coincidentally, also makes up the hard part of coral. When cavity-causing bacteria produce acid, the acid robs the hydroxyapatite of calcium, leaving it weak and vulnerable. If a fluoride ion comes into physical contact with a calcium-less hydroxyapatite molecule, the fluoride bonds to it, which not only repairs it, but makes it significantly stronger than it was in the first place. This is how fluoride prevents teeny tiny baby cavities from growing up into big cavities that would require fillings, root canals, or crowns to repair. If you use a non-fluoridated toothpaste, you’re missing the only significant benefit that toothpaste can offer.
When deciding when you should introduce toothpaste with fluoride to your children the best time is when they can properly spit all the toothpaste out without swallowing it, our children were about 4-5.
4. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
They shouldn’t even make any other kind. Next time you’re at the dentist, ask how often she or he has recommended anything other than a soft-bristled toothbrush. The answer is never. Hard bristles can be overly aggressive resulting in gum attachment loss as well as an accelerated wear of enamel. Nobody wants that.
5. Easy does it.
Most people push too hard when brushing their teeth. A great way to gauge yourself is to spend a few nights brushing by holding the brush only with your thumb and index finger. Most likely you’ll finish and feel like your teeth are still dirty. Don’t worry , they aren’t. It doesn’t take very much force to dislodge food from a flat surface of a tooth. Some of the high-end electric brushes are equipped with sensors to let you know if you’re using too much pressure. If you push too hard, you’re much more likely to cause gum attachment loss.
So there you have it. Now you know how to brush your teeth the right way.
Be sure to also check out 5 things you can do right now to improve your oral health.