How to brush your teeth
You might think proper brushing is common sense, but many intelligent people brush their teeth incorrectly. Brushing and flossing your teeth properly is the key to keeping your mouth healthy.
You should use a different technique from the one you used as a kid. Adults and children should use slightly different techniques. As an adult, your teeth are fully formed and your focus should be on cleaning your gums as much as your teeth.
Before you start brushing, make sure your toothbrush has round-ended, soft, nylon bristles. You want a toothbrush that won’t scratch the surface of your teeth or damage your gums.
You should follow these steps when brushing your teeth:
1.) Soften the bristles of the brush with warm water before beginning. Then add a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to the brush. Choose paste with fluoride and tartar control.
2.) Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle against your gumline. The bristles should contact both the teeth and gums.
3.) Using a circular, back-and-forth motion, softly brush the fronts of your teeth and your gums, focusing on two or three teeth at a time.
4.) Use the same motion to gently brush your back teeth.
5.) To clean the back of your front teeth, hold the brush vertically and make gentle up-and-down strokes with the top half of your brush.
6.) To clean your biting surfaces, gently scrub back and forth with the brush parallel to your teeth.
7.) Brush your tongue, starting at the back and pulling to the front. This eliminates bacteria and keeps your breath smelling fresh.
8.) Keep brushing for two minutes (at least twice a day). Many electric toothbrushes have timers on them, but you can set your own timer or brush your teeth while watching TV or reading to be sure that you brush for long enough.
The experience should be less like a sand-blasting and more like a luxurious massage for your teeth and gums. You want to rid your mouth of bacteria, not tooth enamel!
Don’t forget to floss! Brushing alone can’t reach the food particles, plaque, and bacteria hiding between your teeth. You should floss at least once a day.
Remember: Replace your toothbrush every three months. The bristles wear down over time, making the brush less effective. And toothbrushes can harbor bacteria, which is why you should buy a new one after you have a cold or other contagious illness.
Good dental care starts at home, but regular dental checkups complete the picture. If you’ve already caused damage to your teeth with vigorous brushing, have no fear. With services that include porcelain veneers, crowns, and cosmetic bonding, Dr. Fondriest can give you a new smile.
For more information about having a healthy, beautiful smile, or to schedule an appointment, call Lake Forest Dental Arts at 847.234.0517. Dr. Fondriest serves patients from the greater Chicago area and the North Shore suburbs.