You’re probably already well aware of how often you should be brushing your teeth (at least twice a day), but are you aware of how you should be brushing your teeth?
Not all brushing strategies are created equally. In order to maximize your oral health and hygiene and ensure those pearly whites are in tip-top shape, be sure to check out these five tips for effective brushing.
1. Pick the right brush.
Just like all brushing strategies are not created equally, not all toothbrushes are created equally. First and foremost, make sure your toothbrush is the proper size.
“If you are straining to open wide enough to let the brush in, the brush is probably too big,” explained Richard H. Price, DMD, consumer adviser for the American Dental Association.
Fresh, firm bristles are important, but go for something on the softer side. Bristles that are too stiff can hurt and cause recession of your gums.
You will also want to ensure that you are changing your toothbrush on a regular basis and that you thoroughly rinse your brush after each cleaning to get rid of any grime or germs.
2. Choose your toothpaste wisely.
Try to avoid harsh toothpastes, such as products that boast whitening power or tartar treatment.
“An increase in whitening particles can be harmful and sand away tooth structure,” explained Michael Sesemann, DDS, the former president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
3. Time yourself.
Swishing a toothbrush around your mouth for a mere twenty seconds quite frankly just isn’t going to cut it. Ideally, you need to be brushing two to three times per day for at least two minutes. That should total between four and six minutes of brushing on a daily basis. With that being said, you don’t want to overdo it. Too much brushing can actually be bad for your oral health, putting too much wear and tear on your gums.
Investing in a good electric brush that has a timer built into it can be a useful tool to ensure you not only get a good cleaning, but you spend enough time brushing both your top and bottom teeth.
4. Practice good technique.
Pay attention to the way that you are brushing. Long, side-to-side strokes can scrape your gums. The best method is to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line, then use short, up-and-down strokes. Be sure to pay special attention to hard to reach places like molars, as plaque will accumulate in out-of-reach spots if you aren’t careful.
5. Aim for an even cleaning.
The goal of brushing is to evenly clean all sections of your mouth. Again, this is where an electric toothbrush, with soft bristles, can be handy.