You have been brushing your teeth for most of your life, but are you really brushing teeth properly? The importance of brushing teeth properly is often overlooked, but it's an important part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
The most common pitfall that keeps people from brushing teeth properly is that they don’t brush for long enough. Most dentists recommend brushing for two to three minutes, spending at least 30 seconds on each “quadrant” of your mouth. You also want to make sure your pearly whites are getting the best attention. Follow these tips to get the most out of your toothbrushing:
- Find the right toothbrush: Select a powerful and effective toothbrush for brushing your teeth. There are many varieties available, from electric to traditional, to soft and medium bristles and more. Most dental professionals recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid harming your gums while brushing your teeth. If you are looking for a great, relatively inexpensive solution for good oral health, the Oral-B Pulsar Pro-Health Toothbrush cleans teeth, stimulates your gums, and breaks up plaque. Find a soft bristle toothbrush with bristles of varying heights. This will ensure the bristles can effectively clean all surfaces and in between your teeth including hard to reach areas.
- Find the right toothpaste: When you first learned how to brush your teeth, chances are you probably didn’t have much control over which toothpaste you used—you most likely just used whatever your parents used. Now, there are literally hundreds of choices available. From regular to tartar and plaque control to sensitive teeth toothpaste, to natural, whitening or bubble-gum flavored, you have more choices than ever. Crest toothpastes contain fluoride, which helps strengthen weak spots and prevent tooth cavities. And whether you're looking for tartar protection, a rush of flavor, or dentist-inspired protection, we've got a toothpaste that's right for you. Your best bet is to try a toothpaste that is accepted by the American Dental Association (ADA). Look for the ADA seal on the package, or look up specific products on the ADA website at www.ada.org.
When brushing, make sure you have a systematic routine that helps ensure you reach every tooth’s surface, including front, back, and in between. Some dentists recommend using a quadrant approach, spending at least 30 seconds on each quadrant and a minimum of two minutes for your whole mouth. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle when brushing both the outer and inner teeth. For chewing surfaces, experts recommend you brush in a back and forth motion with the brush flat against your teeth. For the inside surfaces of your front teeth, it’s best to brush using an up-and-down motion with the brush tilted vertically. Finally, don’t forget to brush your tongue. This will remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
If you want to make sure you are brushing properly, ask your dentist the next time you visit to review how to brush your teeth. Once you’ve remembered how to brush your teeth, put the knowledge to use as often as possible, brushing your teeth after meals or at least twice a day.
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