Improper brushing techniques are a common problem and may result in tooth decay. Many of our patients brush their teeth twice per day, but we can often see that these practices do not always include proper brushing techniques after a dental exam.
Imagine brushing your teeth like walking your dog. You can either let them out very quickly to “get the job done,” or take them twice a day on a long walk. Better yet, go to the dog park! Of course, with these longer walks and exercise options, your dog will get healthier and happier. The same applies to brushing your teeth and preventive dental care. Brushing longer with the proper techniques will prevent unwanted dental treatments, tooth decay, and gum disease.
Maintaining good oral and dental health is vital to your overall well-being. By making just a few minor changes in your brushing habits, you can drastically change the health of your teeth and avoid costly dental work months down the road.
Brush your teeth for two minutes. It’s that simple. In some cases, we typically brush an average of 46 seconds and do a “drive-by” brushing where we think we brush every surface of the tooth and call it a day. If you’re not brushing for two minutes or more, you’re not making sure every part of the tooth is brushed.
The best way to ensure that we have brushed all corners of our mouth is to follow the same pattern for each section of your mouth. Brushing the chewing surfaces, both your teeth’ outer surface and the inner surface will ensure all areas are covered. The pattern where you brush first doesn’t matter as long as each section gets the same brushing during the two minutes. When brushing, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gumline. Followed by gently brushing in a circular motion from where the tooth and gum meet to the chewing surface in short (about half-a-tooth-wide) strokes. We don’t want to brush too hard as that can cause receding gums, tooth sensitivity, and loose teeth.
Now that you’ve brushed your teeth, there’s only one more step. Brushing your tongue! This can be done with a toothbrush or a tongue scraper. The latter is super cheap (like $3) and does wonders for making sure you kill all the bacteria that’s hiding in the small crevices on your tongue surface.
Run your tongue over all the surfaces of your teeth. If your tongue can glide smoothly over your teeth with no rough patches, food particles, or buildup, you’ve done a good job of brushing. If some areas still feel a bit rough, repeat the process to ensure thorough tooth coverage. When the plaque or buildup stays on your teeth longer than it should, it can lead to many problems. These include dental caries, gingivitis, and periodontitis.
While picking the “right” toothbrush depends on personal preference, we typically recommend using soft bristles for several reasons. A soft bristle brush is extremely effective at removing plaque from your enamel and is more efficient in cleaning along the gum line than a hard bristle brush.
An electric toothbrush is another option if you don’t want to pick up a manual toothbrush. Unlike ordinary toothbrushes, the electric toothbrush is a great alternative that offers greater plaque removal and a more comfortable hygiene experience than a manual toothbrush alone. The brush head rotates and vibrates independently to remove plaque from those hard-to-reach spots.
A toothbrush is only as good as the toothpaste that brushes alongside it. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using fluoride toothpaste to protect your oral health. Toothpaste with fluoride will help to re-mineralize your teeth, remove surface stains, and strengthen tooth enamel. Over time, brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste can help to strengthen your teeth and reduce dental plaque build-up.
The American Dental Association assigns its Seal of Acceptance to toothpastes that pass its tests for safety and effectiveness. Any product that can contribute to tooth decay will not be given the ADA seal.
Brushing is a vital component of daily dental hygiene, but it only deals with large pieces of food debris and leaves smaller bits behind. Flossing reaches between the teeth and removes trapped food particles from the surfaces where brushing can’t reach. Floss once a day to maintain healthy gums and a clean smile.
Poor oral hygiene can result in inter-dental decay, halitosis (bad breath), gum line recession, oral disease, tooth decay, and eventually tooth loss. By practicing good oral hygiene daily, you can avoid these problems and keep a healthy mouth.
One of the best ways to make sure that your teeth are healthy and clean is to schedule an appointment for a full mouth exam and cleaning. Your friendly local general dentist can examine your pearly whites, detect the presence of gum disease or cavities, and explain how you can have a healthier mouth.
During your appointment, your dentist will perform an exam and tell almost immediately the state of your oral health. If you tend to miss spots when brushing or flossing, you’ll notice a buildup of plaque on these surfaces that will signify where you should spend more time brushing. By visiting us two times a year for your general exam and cleaning, you’ll get a better understanding of your oral hygiene and prevent future dental problems.
For a local dentist in Fairview, TX, contact Sloan Creek Dental today! As a family dental office, we provide cleanings, fillings, oral surgery, emergency services, Invisalign, and much more for the entire family.