You've been brushing your teeth most of your life, but have you ever considered whether you’re brushing your teeth correctly? The importance of brushing teeth properly is often overlooked, but it's one of the most important things you can do to maintain your oral health. While brushing your teeth properly isn't rocket science, it does require a conscious effort to make sure it's done right. Here are some tips to make your brushing routine as effective and safe as possible:
- The most common pitfall that keeps people from brushing properly is that they don't brush long enough. Dr. Godwin recommends that you brush for two minutes (that’s 120 seconds), twice a day, with a soft-bristled, small-headed toothbrush. As an alternative, you can use a powered toothbrush for increased cleaning efficacy. If you have braces, teeth are much harder to clean because food often gets trapped around your brackets and wires. That means you'll need to increase your brushing time to five minutes.
- Brush the outside surfaces of your teeth using small, gentle, circular motions while positioning the head of the toothbrush at a 45° angle to the gum line. Concentrate on small areas at a time until you’ve cleaned your entire mouth.
- Brush the inside surfaces of your teeth using the same motion, and chewing surfaces using short, gentle, back-and-forth motions.
- Gently brush your tongue (or use a tongue scraper). This will remove bacteria and dead cells from your tongue and lead to fresher breath.
- Pay particular attention to the gum line, hard-to-reach areas in the back of the mouth, around dental and orthodontic appliances, and near fillings, crowns, or any other restorative work.
- Choosing a toothpaste depends on your individual needs and preferences. Many different types are available for oral health issues such as tartar, gingivitis, or sensitive teeth. But proper brushing technique is the most important tactic for removing tartar from your teeth.
- We recommend that you replace your toothbrush every three months or when the bristles begin to wear, whichever comes first. It’s also advisable to replace your toothbrush after you’ve been sick, since the bristles of the toothbrush can trap bacteria and allow them to proliferate.
Along with flossing, proper brushing will keep your mouth healthy and beautiful. Please let the team at Bel Air Orthodontics know if you have questions about your brushing and/or flossing routine. As always, we're here to help!