We’ve all heard our dentists tell us to “brush twice a day and floss regularly.” But is that all you need to do to build strong teeth and gums? Not exactly. The following are many do’s and don’ts of brushing your teeth to ensure they stay at their healthiest, strongest and brightest.
Tooth Brushing Dos:
- Brush with fluoride toothpastes and gels. Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that helps prevent and even reverse early stages of tooth decay.
- Choose a toothbrush that is appropriately sized and use a soft-bristled brush. Bristles that are too hard can injure your gums and cause recession.
- Brush for 2 minutes covering all sections of the mouth (upper, lower, inside, outside or behind). A motorized (electric or battery-operated) toothbrush with a timer can be a great choice; as most people don’t realize 30 seconds per mouth section is a long time. Don’t forget to use short, gentle strokes that cover one or two teeth at a time.
- Brush shortly after you’ve consumed anything particularly sweet or chewy, in addition to the normal two times a day (morning and bedtime). If it’s not convenient to brush, rinse with mouthwash or water to wash away food particles, sugar residue and to help dilute acids produced by decay-forming bacteria.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 months or whenever the bristles start showing signs of excessive wear. Also replace after any illness (cold, flu, etc.). Germs can live on the bristles so if you continue to use the same toothbrush, it could lead to reinfection.
- Brush your tongue once a day with a toothbrush or tongue scraper. Sulphur-emitting bacteria can reside on the tongue surface and are largely responsible for bad breath. One or two swipes from back to front will suffice to reduce the bacterial count in your mouth and help control halitosis.
- Keep toothbrush heads dry after use.
Tooth Brushing Don’ts:
- Don’t ever share toothbrushes with anyone, even your family members. Germs and gum disease can be transferred via moist brushes.
- Don’t brush your teeth within 30 minutes of consuming acidic (citrus fruit) foods or beverages (juices, sports drinks, soft drinks). The acids soften the tooth structure and make them more susceptible to abrasion through brushing.
- Don’t use a hard-bristled brush or excessive force. You are cleaning your teeth and gums, not the grout between your bathroom tiles! Be gentle.
- Don’t allow children 2 years old and under to ingest toothpaste. Children should always brush teeth under the supervision of an adult. Tip: Children need assistance with oral hygiene until they possess the dexterity to tie their own shoelaces.
- Don’t forget to rinse! Rinsing collects and discards all of the bacteria you just brushed from your teeth and gums and prevents it from re-depositing on the tooth surface.
- The Most Important Don’t: Don’t forget to schedule regular checkups with your dentist (Like us) every 6 months. Bi-annual professional cleanings and exams are the easiest way to avoid painful and costly dental problems in the future.
Share this with your friends and family and let us know if you have any other tips to keeping your teeth healthy!