Brushing is the most effective method for removing harmful plaque from your teeth and gums.
Getting the debris off your teeth and gums in a timely manner prevents bacteria in the food you eat from turning into harmful, cavity causing acids.
Most dentists agree that brushing three times a day is the minimum; if you use a fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before bed at night, you can get away without using toothpaste during the middle of the day. A simple brushing with plain water or rinsing your mouth with water for 30 seconds after lunch will generally do the job.
Since everyone's teeth are different, see me first before choosing a brushing technique. Here are some popular techniques that work:
- Use a circular motion to brush only two or three teeth at a time, gradually covering the entire mouth.
- Place your toothbrush next to your teeth at a 45-degree angle and gently brush in a circular motion, not up and down. This kind of motion wears down your tooth structure and can lead to receding gums, or expose the root of your tooth. You should brush all surfaces of your teeth - front, back, top, and between other teeth, rocking the brush back and forth gently to remove any plaque growing under the gum.
- Don't forget the other surfaces of your mouth that are covered in bacteria - including the gums, the roof and floor of your mouth, and most importantly, your tongue. Brushing your tongue not only removes trapped bacteria and other disease-causing germs, but it also freshens your breath.
- Remember to replace your brush when the bristles begin to spread because a worn toothbrush will not properly clean your teeth.
- Effective brushing usually takes about three minutes. Believe it or not, studies have shown that most people rush during tooth brushing.
Selecting a Toothbrush
There are so many different types of toothbrushes in the marketplace that it can be a difficult choice to know what is best. Our office considers any toothbrush that that provides you both a good tool for removal of plaque, plus is safe for the gums (soft bristles) as being best for your oral health.
When it comes to choosing between a manual or electric toothbrush, both can effectively and thoroughly clean your teeth, so it really becomes a matter of personal preference and manual dexterity.
Children may enjoy brushing with a powered toothbrush. Persons who have difficulty using a non-powered toothbrush due to issues of manual dexterity (eg. arthritis) may find a powered toothbrush more comfortable and easier to use.
Whether you decide on manual or powered, choose a toothbrush that you like and find easy to use, one which has soft bristles so as not to damage the gums, and make sure to brush twice a day to thoroughly clean all the surfaces of your teeth of the plaque.