Improper brushing techniques are a common problem. Many of our patients brush their teeth twice per day, but after a dental exam we can often see that these practices do not always include proper brushing techniques.
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.
Techniques for Brushing Your Teeth
To ensure a healthy smile in the future, it is important to practice good oral and dental hygiene. 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.
The Two-Minute Rule
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.
Brushing Every Surface
The best way to ensure that we have indeed reached all corners of our mouth is to follow the same pattern for each section of your mouth. The pattern of where you brush first doesn’t matter as long as each section gets the same brushing during the two-minute time span. When brushing, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gumline. Followed by gently brushing 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 do wonders for making sure you kill all the bacteria that’s hiding in the small crevices on your tongue surface.
How Can I tell If I Did a Good Job Brushing?
Run your tongue over all the surfaces of your teeth. If your tongue can glide smoothly over your teeth with no rough patches 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.
Getting the Right Toothbrush
While picking the “right” toothbrush depends on personal preference, we typically recommend using soft bristles for a few different reasons. The soft bristles are extremely effective at removing plaque from your enamel, and is more efficient in cleaning along the gum line. Electric toothbrush is also an excellent alternative as they can better reach those hard to get places compared to a traditional toothbrush.
The Importance of Preventative Care
One of the best ways for you 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 health 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.