Our Minneapolis dentist has a few reminders about the basics of oral health in honor of National Dental Hygiene month this October.
Most of you have been brushing your teeth since you were children, but how many of you were taught the best technique for brushing or how to select the right toothbrush? Often, parents are just happy to get their kids to brush at all, and so bad habits hang on well past childhood.
Here are some questions you should consider.
Do you have the right toothbrush?
Dental professionals most often recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush as the best choice to remove plaque from your teeth.
The size of your toothbrush is also important. Does it fit all areas of your mouth comfortably? Toothbrushes with a smaller head are considered preferable, because they can reach more areas of your mouth, like those hard-to-reach back teeth.
When it comes to the question of electric vs. manual toothbrush, our Minneapolis dentist would say that it does not matter, if the proper brushing is done. However, an electric toothbrush can sometimes seem more fun for children, encouraging them to cooperate during brushing – and that’s always a win.
How much brushing is enough?
Brushing twice a day is recommended, though three times a day is even better. Most people meet the twice daily recommendation, but they don’t always brush long enough.
You should brush your teeth for a full two to three minutes. Do you meet that goal? Many people find, once they time themselves, that they fall short.
It’s not so much that the time period is important; the recommendation is really based on how long it should take you to adequately brush all surfaces of your mouth. Try dividing your mouth into quadrants, then spend 30 seconds on each quadrant.
If it’s helpful to you, some electric toothbrushes include built-in timers.
Are you using good technique?
Keep in mind that you should brush gently, not with force. If you brush too vigorously, you can erode your tooth enamel.
Follow these basic steps for the best brushing results:
- Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
- Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
- Clean the chewing surfaces
- Brush your tongue (for fresher breath)
The American Dental Hygienists Association offers a more detailed guide to brushing, with visuals. Most toothpastes websites, such as Colgate, will also offer additional tips on brushing and selecting the proper toothbrush.
Supplementary may also help protect your teeth from decay. Consult your Minneapolis dentist about whether fluoride is a good choice for you, but remember – nothing replaces proper brushing!