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Tooth Brushing Basics for Everyone

Most of us learn how to brush our teeth during childhood, so it probably comes as second nature to you. Since it’s such a routine part of your day, have you ever considered whether you’re doing it the right way? You might be surprised to learn that most people don’t brush their teeth using the correct techniques. Even if you’re brushing every day, you’re not receiving all of the benefits of this practice if you’re not performing it properly. Therefore, a proper manner of brushing should be followed daily to maintain a healthy smile.

Why Is Good Oral Hygiene Important?

Preventing bad breath and maintaining the appearance of your smile are two great reasons to maintain good oral hygiene, but there are other more important reasons. Daily brushing and flossing greatly reduce your risk of developing cavities, gum disease, and other serious dental problems that can cause tooth loss. Gum disease and periodontitis can also affect other areas of your body, increasing your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, or suffering a stroke. In addition to going to your dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and exam, using the correct techniques to brush and floss each day are the most effective ways to prevent most dental problems.

How Can Plaque Harm Your Teeth?

Plaque is a sticky colorless film that is constantly forming on your teeth. Plaque contains millions of bacteria and can lead to tooth decay and gum disease if not removed on a daily basis. Every time you eat carbs or foods and drinks high in sugar, the bacteria in your mouth mixes with the sugar and starch, producing an acid. This acidic substance damages tooth enamel, causing it to weaken and break down. Over time, cavities can develop. To minimize plaque, try to brush your teeth shortly after eating or drinking. If you can’t, it’s helpful to rinse your mouth with mouthwash or water after every time you eat.

Plaque hardens into a substance called tartar if it’s not removed daily by brushing and flossing. Tartar is also called calculus, and it’s a yellowish substance that’s tough to remove. In fact, only your dentist or hygienist is qualified to remove tartar during your dental cleaning. Plaque, tartar, and bacteria can irritate your delicate gum tissue, causing redness and other signs of inflammation. This can lead to the early symptoms of gum disease and gingivitis, including swollen, red gums that may bleed while brushing or flossing. When caught early, gingivitis can be successfully treated and reversed.

When not treated, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis. This is an advanced stage of gum disease that can have serious consequences. If you have periodontitis, your gum tissue might start to separate from your teeth, forming pockets of bacteria. With advanced periodontitis, the bones that support your tooth structure are destroyed, causing tooth loss that is very difficult to fix.

Follow These Brushing Habits for Healthy Teeth and Gums

Achieving a healthy smile requires a lifetime of care. It’s essential to take the right steps each day to take care of your teeth and gums, doing everything that you can to prevent future problems. This involves brushing and flossing correctly, seeing your dentist regularly, and using the right oral care products. Check out these tips and tricks from our dentists and the American Dental Association (ADA) to help you maximize the benefits of your oral care routine.

What Is the Right Way to Brush?

To effectively brush your teeth, hold your toothbrush at about a 45-degree angle and use short, gentle strokes. Begin at your gumline and use a circular, up-and-down motion. Hold your toothbrush vertically to brush the inside of your front and bottom teeth, using up-and-down strokes.

Carefully brush all of your teeth, paying special attention to the inner, outer, and chewing surfaces. Don’t brush aggressively since this can damage your gum tissue and make you more susceptible to tooth sensitivity. When you’re finished brushing, don’t forget to brush your tongue to eliminate bacteria. Floss your teeth at least once a day, either in the morning or at night.

Brush Often

You should always brush your teeth a minimum of twice a day. Every time you brush, try to brush for at least two minutes. This gives you sufficient time to clean your entire mouth and remove food particles and plaque. Try to think of your mouth as four separate quadrants and focus on carefully brushing the teeth in that quadrant for a minimum of 30 seconds. Then, you can move on to the next section.

Choose Your Toothbrush Carefully

Our dentists recommend a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small brush head, but check with your dentist for more information about your specific needs. IN most cases, soft bristles are strong enough to remove remove plaque and food particles from your teeth and gumline, but still gentle enough for twice daily use on the gums. A toothbrush with a small brush head makes it easier for you to clean your back teeth and other hard-to-reach areas that you might miss with a bigger brush head.

Choosing a Toothpaste

Look for a toothpaste that contains fluoride and has received approval from the ADA. If you have sensitive teeth, you might consider a toothpaste that provides sensitivity protection. Tartar control, whitening, and enamel repair are other options available. If you’re unsure, ask your dentist or hygienist which toothpaste is the right one for you.

Caring For Your Toothbrush

Rinse your toothbrush well after every use to wash off any food particles or toothpaste that might still remain. Store it in an upright position when you’re finished brushing to help it air dry before you use it again. If you have a cold or other infection, be sure to change your toothbrush after your illness is finished.

Schedule Regular Dental Cleanings at Our Office

Do you still have questions about the right way to brush or floss? Maybe you have further questions about how you can improve your oral care routine. Either way, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! Our team of dental professionals are here to help you and will gladly answer any questions you have. Call us today to make your appointment.

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