While it may be true that many of our patients brush their teeth twice a day, it is also true that when we perform our dental exams we can often see that their daily brushing routine does 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
The next time you brush your teeth, there are a few steps you can take to ensure a healthy smile now and in the long run. After all, it’s much better to spend an extra few minutes brushing your teeth now than to have to fork out thousands of dollars and hours of your time for invasive dental procedures down the road.
The Two-Minute Rule
Brushing your teeth for two minutes is 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, it is recommended to brush for at least two minutes to ensure 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 timespan. 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. Brushing too hard 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 of the bacteria that’s hiding in small crevices on your tongue surface.
How Can I tell If I Did a Good Job Brushing?
One way to determine if your brushing is really getting the job done is by running your tongue along your teeth. If your tongue can glide smoothly over your teeth with no rough patches or buildup, then you’re good. However, if it feels like there’s still dirt and grime on them that you can’t remove by simply brushing, you might be trying too hard or using a toothpaste that’s not right for you.
Getting the Right Toothbrush
While picking the “right” toothbrush depends on personal preference, we typically recommend to use soft bristles for a few different reasons. The soft bristles are extremely effective at removing plaque from your enamel and is more efficient cleaning along the gum line. Electric toothbrush is also a good alternative as they can better reach those hard to get places compared to a traditional toothbrush.
The Importance of Preventative Care
If you want to make sure you are brushing your teeth effectively, you should schedule a cleaning or a general dentist appointment at a local dentist. This will have them look at the overall health and condition of your teeth.
During your appointment, your dentist will be able to 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.
Tip 2: Be honest about your dental phobia
At Sloan Creek Dental, we want you more than anything to get the care you need. No matter the reason, such as fear of needles, or something else, let us know as we are familiar with these anxieties and we can find another alternative.
Tip 3: Ask questions about the procedure
Communication is the foundation of any good relationship. Which is why prior to any procedure, Dr. Feng will go over what will be done so you’re aware of what will be done. If you have specific questions about the procedure, or had a bad experience with dental pain, feel free to ask or mention it and Dr. Feng will be happy to address your concerns.
Tip 4: Bring someone with You
Bringing someone with you to a dentist appointment, whether a friend or family member, can provide an extra layer of support and assurance. By bringing in someone who isn’t afraid of dentists, that person can speak for you in times you can’t, increasing your control of the situation.
Tip 5: It's ok to take a break
A dentist who cares will take their time to make sure that you are comfortable and relaxed during your procedures. If you feel like you need to take a break during your dental treatment, let the dentist know and they will give you some time to take a breather.
Tip 6: Take precautions to reduce discomfort
Afraid of dental injections or have a fear of pain? Talk to your dentist about whether you can have a topical anesthetic to relieve the pain before receiving shots. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedatives, or other options may be available. For those with sensitive gag reflexes or fear of being choked, the x-rays may be your concern. Talk to your dentist about the possibility of panoramic x-rays, which are non-invasive. There are many options available to you that could get the inconvenience out of the process. Be open with your dentist about how both of you can get the dentist visit going.
Tip 7: Take good care of your teeth
This is the best tip for overcoming dental phobia. With proper oral hygiene, you can be proactive in protecting your teeth from unwanted dental procedures. Brush well, eat right, floss daily, and visit the dentist for regular checkups and you’ll be on the right path to excellent oral hygiene.
Tip 8: Consider Sedation Dentistry
We provide 3 options of sedation dentistry to treat severe anxiety. Whether you’re facing a common procedure or a more complex procedure like implant placement or tooth extraction, we can work with you to find the right treatment that fits within your comfort level. We offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedation, and IV sedation. With either of these methods, your anxiety levels will decrease, you will feel calm and comfortable.
Sloan Creek Dental is here for you
Rather than dreading your dental appointment and leaving your mouth exposed to conditions you cannot identify, wouldn’t it be better if you went to a dentist you felt comfortable with? At Sloan Creek Dental, your dental experience will be a comfortable positive experience as your comfort is our priority. We can help identify problems in the mouth that would not have been detected, allows you to understand how you can keep your mouth healthy, and to prevent problems that can cause anxiety.