Caring for your teeth between dental appointments is important for your long-term oral health, but many people make costly mistakes without even realizing it. Teeth brushing especially is something that a lot of patients tend to do incorrectly. Here’s what we want you to know about the proper way to clean your teeth.
Avoid Brushing Your Teeth Hard
Brushing your teeth should be a gentle process. When you brush too hard, you risk wearing away your tooth enamel. We caution against this because enamel isn’t something that grows back.
A healthy way to brush your teeth is to keep the tips of the bristles from bending too much. While the toothbrush is in the sides of your mouth, pull it away to create a sort of cave with your cheeks rather than jamming the brush around your gums. Slow and rhythmic circles are also far better than zipping the brush back and forth.
Brush Twice Daily
Plaque and tartar build-ups are always happening--it’s natural. When we eat food, oil residues and food particles stay in our mouth and break down to plague over time. If plaque sits it calcifies and becomes tartar. But will tartar form overnight if you forget to brush? No.
If you continually allow plaque to build-up by skipping brushes or not brushing at all, then tartar will take root and damage your teeth. Brushing twice a day serves as a protective cleaning, like weeding a garden.
Brushing your teeth in the morning works as a preventative coat for your day, while brushing at night works as a cleaning coat from all the day’s consumption. It may sound like a hassle, but taking the time to brush twice daily will save you from things like, cavities, and nasty bad breath.
Try to Follow the 2/2 Rule
Brushing your teeth twice a day is one half of the 2/2 rule. The other is brushing for at least 2 minutes.
When you think about it, 2 minutes is not a lot of time. If you’re someone who struggles to use your toothbrush for more than ten seconds, here are a few tips:
- Queue up a video to distract you while brushing
- Use a timer on your smartphone
- Listen to half of your favorite song
Getting into a 2-minute tooth brushing routine will make it easier to do and it will pay off for you down the road.
Don’t Forget to Brush Your Tongue
If you didn’t know, you should brush your tongue. Not hard, not aggressively, but definitely brush your tongue. One of the best ways to get rid of bad breath is to brush your tongue, actually.
People often skip this step in their brushing routine or don’t do it at all (and it shows--or--smells!) Because everything crosses your tongue (air, liquids, food) it’s prone to the most contamination. A few gentle passes in your brushing routine will go a long way!
Traditional Toothbrush or Electric Toothbrush?
Some might think a normal toothbrush is better for your mouth because it takes more human energy. But that’s not the case. The best toothbrushes for your mouth are the electric ones, and here’s why:
- Electric toothbrushes offer more control
- Electric toothbrushes pull at plaque
- Electric toothbrushes provide a deeper clean
With an electric toothbrush, you can focus on positioning the bristles more than moving them around. This gives much better brush control than a traditional toothbrush!
Electric toothbrushes also create a whirlpool effect in your mouth from the spinning motion of the brush. This effect pulls at the plaque in between your teeth giving you a cleaner, healthier smile.
When versing an electric toothbrush, it doesn’t matter what sort of arch or how many bristles your traditional toothbrush has. An electric brush will always surpass it. In today’s market, there are thousands of electric toothbrushes available. We’re not saying you have to go buy the most expensive one, but an electric brush will always pay you back in oral health.
Brush bristles become frayed and weak over time, which means old bristles won’t give you the cleaning you need. We recommend changing your brush every 3-4 months. For electric brushes, this means just changing the brush head.
How to Choose the Right Toothpaste
There is no one-brand-perfect-toothpaste-for-all. Everyone is different, and everyone’s needs vary or change over time.
Check with your local dental office about what brand of toothpaste will work best for you. Make sure to also ask about options like teeth whiteners, toothpaste for sensitive teeth, and children’s toothpaste as these are added layers on top of complete protection toothpastes.
A few brands that we recommend are:
- Arm & Hammer Dental Care Toothpaste w/Baking Soda
- Freshmint Premium Anticavity Toothpaste
- Burt’s Bees Extra White Fluoride Toothpaste
For a complete guide onbrands, check the ADA’s accepted over-the-counter products list.
Flossing is not everyone’s favorite thing. We get that. But it is important. The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends flossing once a day. It sounds like a lot--we know--but it does make a major difference.
As your local dental service, we want your dental check-up to be stress and anxiety-free. You know that scraping process you hate so much when you visit the dentist? Yeah...we’re not fans of it either. That’s us having to dig out all the tartar and plaque that built-up in between your teeth and gums because flossing fell by the wayside.
Taking thirty seconds a day to floss will save you from that long scraping session, and it will help protect your mouth for the years to come.
Looking for More on Oral Health?
We hope this guide to brushing your teeth at home comes in handy. For more information on oral health, feel free to reach out and contact us online, request an appointment, or call us at (248) 646-6363. As your Bloomfield Hills, MI dentist, Glenn Spencer DDS is happy to help meet all your dental needs.
This blog post has been updated.