Can you Believe it: Only 1 in 10 Americans brush their teeth correctly.
So to help in the good fight to get Americans to brush correctly, we have put together a list of the most common mistakes and the best tips for Brushing your teeth correctly.
1. Size Matters!
Some people use a large toothbrush head thinking “the bigger, the better.” But you can brush just as effectively, if not more, so with a smaller brush, especially if you have to strain your mouth to use a large one.
2. It’s Good To Be A Softy!
It would seem to make sense that firmer bristles would clean your teeth better, but many times hard-bristle brushes just wind up damaging your sensitive gum tissue. The American Dental Association recommends a soft-bristled brush and we agree!
3. Don’t Do A Rush Job!
Most people spend fifteen seconds or so per round of brushing. Studies have shown that a full two minutes is needed to properly clean all tooth surfaces. To make sure you don’t play favorites, divide your mouth into four sections (upper right, lower right, etc.) and spend thirty seconds on each.
Some electric toothbrushes actually have timers, but you don’t need to be so fancy. Find a thirty-second song and sing it to yourself for each mouth quarter.
4. What’s Your Angle?
While we typically picture tooth-brushing to be a horizontal affair, that leaves out many important tooth surfaces, including the crucial area where the tooth meets the gum line. Aim your bristles at a forty-five degree angle and make sure they gently dip below the outer surface of your gums. This can get very tricky, and we recommend that you have Michele or Kayte, our fantastic hygienists, give you a full demonstration!
5. It’s An Inside Job!
The inner surfaces of the teeth are often overlooked, but just because they hide from daylight doesn’t mean you should neglect them! Take the time to brush all tooth surfaces, inside and out. Oh – don’t forget your tongue either!
After your brush, loose bacteria are floating around your mouth having a big old party. It’s time to finish them up with a rinse of mouthwash or even water. They’re on your toothbrush too, so it’s always a good idea to run that under the faucet for a few seconds when you finish!
7. Forced Retirement
Many people get nostalgic over their old toothbrushes, but keeping them for too long is a big mistake! Frayed bristles can’t clean correctly, and even worse – they harbor all kinds of nasty germs. The American Dental Association suggests changing your toothbrush every three or four months. When in doubt – toss it out!
8. Do It In Circles
Brush in small circles throughout your mouth. A back and forth motion has been linked to gum recession and erosion of the gum-line tooth structure.
And There’s One More Thing…
Even though we are discussing tooth-brushing, it just wouldn’t be complete without mentioning those tooth surfaces between your teeth – the ones that can’t be reached with a brush. Yes, that’s right – we all need to floss!! Daily flossing prevents cavities and helps to keep our gums in good shape.