We are all told from a young age that brushing our teeth is important, but what if you haven’t been taught the correct way to brush your teeth properly from the very beginning?
Learning how to do something incorrectly as a child can mean continuing those mistakes into adulthood. And by then, of course, we either don’t know we’re doing it wrong, or we’re too embarrassed to ask what the correct way is!
We have put together this short article explaining the best way to brush your teeth, and some of the common mistakes you may be unknowingly guilty of.
Mistakes when brushing your teeth
The most common mistake when brushing your teeth is also the most obvious; not brushing often enough. Twice a day, every day is the rule, but some people only brush in the morning when they get up, while others brush “when they remember”.
Even if you do brush your teeth regularly, not spending enough time doing it, is also a common mistake. At least two minutes is recommended for a good, thorough clean.
Going too hard with your toothbrush can also be a problem.
Remember, harder isn’t better.
Plaque isn’t that tough, and a good toothbrush will clean it away.
In fact, it’s better to think of “massaging” your teeth instead of brushing them.
The toothbrush is another thing people tend to overlook. You don’t want a brush that’s too hard, and it’s a good idea to replace your toothbrush once you see a change in the bristles.
Choosing the right toothbrush and toothpaste
There are plenty of options out there when it comes to toothbrushes, so which is the right one for you?
Most experts agree that a soft bristled toothbrush is better for your teeth. The bristles don’t have to be hard to clear away plaque, and actually need to be able to bend in order to get in between the tooth and gum line.
Toothpaste is slightly more complicated, but it’s important to pick one with fluoride. After decades of research, it’s been firmly established that fluoride in toothpaste can help reduce tooth decay.
Toothpaste which is marketed to whiten teeth doesn’t actually whiten them, but contains abrasives which remove stains. You may see some improvements, but to whiten teeth properly, you should seek proper treatment.
When to brush our teeth
Brushing twice a day is recommended, but when to brush is just as important.
Instead of brushing as soon as you get up, wait until after breakfast. That way you can clear out all the food debris before you head off to work, so it’s not building up the bacteria in your mouth. Those bacteria will eat away at your tooth enamel, eventually causing decay.
It’s recommended to brush after eating, but you don’t want to do it too soon after a meal.
Your mouth contains saliva after eating, and this is nature’s way of breaking down all those acids contained in the food. If you brush your teeth immediately after eating, you’re clearing out that saliva and causing abrasion to your teeth, which causes the acid to work against your enamel.
The correct way to brush your teeth
Technique is essential when it comes to the correct way to brush your teeth. It doesn’t matter if you’re brushing twice a day, if you’re not doing it right, you won’t help to remove the plaque.
Many of us are taught to brush up and down, not side to side, and while the former is better than the latter, the best way to brush is actually in a circular motion.
Tilt the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle, and work it gently but firmly, making sure to cover every part of your mouth. A good way to ensure you don’t miss any teeth is to have a system. Divide your mouth into 4 quarters, top, bottom, left and right, and spend at least 30 seconds on each.
Make sure you brush for at least 2-3 minutes, usually about the length of a song, which you can play from your phone to add a bit of fun while timing yourself.
Finally, don’t forget to brush your tongue. This will remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
Come and see us for a check-up
Whether you brush your teeth twice a day or not, everyone still needs to come for regular check-ups.
Here at SDAI we believe prevention is better than cure, and we pledge to value our patients and their needs above all else.
Make an appointment today with our dental hygienist, and we can show you the best way to brush and prevent tooth decay.
If you have any questions about oral hygiene, the correct way to brush your teeth, or any type of dental procedure, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Sydney Dental Aesthetics and Implants.