Steps to Proper Brushing

Let’s face it; most people learn to brush their teeth as a child. Many times, the way or the technique many people use to brush their teeth is not the most effective way to properly clean your teeth and gums. Research shows that proper brushing is not exactly instinctive behavior, so here are a few tips and steps to proper brushing.

First and foremost, no matter how you brush, be sure to brush at least twice a day for two full minutes each time. Force is not necessary; in fact you should actually brush lightly. Brushing your teeth too hard or aggressively can cause your gums to recede. Removing plaque twice daily by brushing will keep plague from adhering and hardening on your teeth. Once plague hardens and becomes tarter, normal daily brushing will not remove it; tarter must be removed by a dental hygienist with special tools.

When brushing, tilt the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle against your gum-line. Gently sweep or roll the toothbrush away from the gum-line, this will help remove bacteria and plague near or on your gums. It’s a good idea to start in the back inside of your upper or lower teeth, as this spot is often times neglected and or skipped. Next gently brush the inside, outside and the chewing surface of each tooth. Short back and front strokes are an effective way to work around your entire mouth. Finish your brushing by gently brushing your tongue to help remove bacteria and to help freshen your breath.  If you have questions about your brushing you should ask your dental professional (a dentist or hygienist) to show you exactly what to do.

Avoid using a hard bristled toothbrush, and change your toothbrush regularly. It’s a good idea to replace your toothbrush every three months or when the bristles on your brush begin to flare. To stay healthy year-round be sure to use a new toothbrush if you’ve had a cold, sore throat, flu or mouth infection. In addition to brushing, don’t forget to floss. Flossing your teeth is a vital step to maintaining healthy gums and teeth. When it comes to brushing your teeth and flossing, it’s never too late to change an old ineffective habit in order to do it well and do it right! Your smile will thank you.

Posted on behalf of Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC

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