Proper brushing takes at least two minutes — that’s right, 120 seconds! Most adults do not come close to brushing that long. To get a feel for the time involved, try using a stopwatch. Here are few tips on how to brush your teeth effectively:
- To properly brush your teeth, use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gumline, hard-to-reach back teeth and areas around fillings, crowns or other restoration.
- Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then the lower teeth.
- Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth.
- Clean the chewing surfaces.
- For fresher breath, be sure to brush your tongue, too – you can use tongue scraper to do that or just your toothbrush.
- Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach — under the gumline and between your teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended.
What Type of Toothbrush Should I Use?
- Most dental professionals agree that a soft-bristled brush is best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth. Small-headed brushes are also preferable, since they can better reach all areas of the mouth, including hard-to-reach back teeth. For many, a powered toothbrush is a good alternative. It can do a better job of cleaning teeth, particularly for those who have difficulty brushing or who have limited manual dexterity.
How important is the Toothpaste I Use?
- It is important that you use toothpaste that’s right for you. Today there is a wide variety of toothpaste designed for many conditions, including cavities, gingivitis, tartar, stained teeth and sensitivity. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist which toothpaste is right for you.
How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?
- You should replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear, or every three months, whichever comes first. It is also very important to change toothbrushes after you’ve had a cold, since the bristles can collect germs that can lead to reinfection.