Article at a Glance
- Brushing your teeth helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
- Use good teeth brushing techniques and be sure to brush all surfaces.
- It is suggested to brush at least twice per day for two minutes.
- Replace your toothbrush about every three months, after you’ve been sick, or when you notice fraying bristles.
Have you ever stopped to consider how you brush your teeth? As adults, it’s often an automatic process that we don’t give much thought to, especially when life gets extra busy. Still, mistakes can easily develop into bad habits if we don’t recognize them and make a change.
Are you guilty of any of these teeth brushing mistakes? It’s never too late to make a change and protect your smile!
How to Brush Your Teeth: Using the Right Technique
The most important part of good oral care is knowing how to brush your teeth correctly. While it’s tempting to run a toothbrush over your teeth and move on, you’re not doing yourself any favors. No matter how busy you are, taking time to brush your teeth right is critical to keep your mouth healthy.
When was the last time you took a good hard look at your oral care routine? Whether you’ve been a little lax or you aren’t sure about the right technique, it’s worthwhile to revisit your approach.
Watch the Pressure
A common toothbrushing mistake is brushing too hard. You want to clean your teeth, but you don’t want to damage them or your gums. It is possible to brush too hard and harm your tooth enamel. Remember, plaque is soft and easy to brush away when you do it properly.
Change your approach from scrubbing to massaging, and your teeth with thank you.
Instead of a back and forth motion, try moving your brush in small, circular motions starting at the gums and down.
Brush All Surfaces
It’s easy to focus on the chewing surfaces of your teeth because that’s where the food gets stuck, right? Unfortunately, focusing solely on the chewing surfaces of your teeth misses a lot of areas where bacteria like to stick around. Take your time and cover all of the surfaces of your teeth.
Don’t Skip the Soft Tissues
Did you know that a lot of bacteria gets stuck along the gum line? There’s a small space between your tooth and the gum tissue that bacteria love. If you don’t brush your gums, you’re letting the bacteria stick around and cause trouble. Use an angle so your brush can clean out those spaces.
Speaking of places bacteria like to hang out, don’t forget your tongue! That’s right, skipping your tongue is a huge toothbrushing mistake. You may even want to use a tongue scraper to help eliminate the build-up of bacteria.
When to Brush Your Teeth: Timing is Key
Knowing when to brush teeth is important to establishing a good oral care routine. You may have a set schedule that includes teeth brushing in your personal care, or you may brush when the mood hits you. You may be surprised to know that bad timing is another common tooth brushing mistake.
How Often Should You Brush Your Teeth?
It is recommended that you brush at least twice per day. Many people choose to brush in the morning and at night, so they start and end the day with a fresh mouth.
Should I Brush After Meals?
In some cases, you may choose to brush after eating or drinking, especially with certain foods or beverages. However, it may be a mistake to brush immediately after a snack or meal. Sure, brushing your teeth is a great way to dislodge food particles and fight bad breath, but there could be unintended consequences.
When you brush immediately after eating, the acids from your food are still present because your saliva hasn’t had a chance to do its job. If you brush while the acid is still on your teeth, you may brush away some enamel. Instead, wait 15 to 20 minutes to let your saliva do its work.
Sometimes you don’t have time to wait, that’s okay. Take a few minutes to rinse your mouth out with water which will remove some of the acids. Then you should be safe to brush.
How Long Should You Brush Your Teeth?
How long you brush your teeth is as important as when you brush them. Another common mistake is rushing the process. No matter how busy you are, you should spend two minutes on your teeth each time you brush.
Think about it, two minutes sounds so easy, it’s less than the length of a song or commercial break. However, many people fail to brush for a full two minutes. If you’re struggling to meet the mark, there are a few tools that can help.
- Use a timer. Grab a plastic hourglass from an old board game or set the timer on your phone.
- Choose a song that’s approximately two minutes and play it while you brush. Bonus points if you dance and brush to get extra steps!
- Consider a toothbrush upgrade because some electric toothbrushes have built-in timers.
If you really want to ace your oral care routine, don’t forget to floss and use mouthwash at least once a day. Commit to a little extra oral care each day, and your mouth will thank you.
When to Replace Your Toothbrush
Using the right toothbrush can make all the difference in your oral health. Generally, a soft-bristle brush is best for your teeth and gums. With proper technique, the soft bristles can remove plaque and debris without harming the tissues.
Keep in mind, a toothbrush is only effective if the bristles are in good shape. A good rule of thumb is to replace your toothbrush every three months or after you’ve been sick. However, worn or damaged bristles are ineffective, so if you notice your toothbrush looks rough, replace it as soon as possible.
Preserve your Smile
A good oral care routine is the best way to keep your mouth healthy and preserve your smile. Brushing your teeth properly is the most important part of your oral hygiene. Remember, just two minutes twice per day can make all the difference. It’s in your best interest to make the most of those minutes.
Don’t forget to see your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional teeth cleaning. If you’re due for a check-up or seeking a new dentist, contact the Jefferson Dental Care clinic nearest you to make an appointment.