Regular, thorough brushing is essential to maintaining your oral health. In fact, it’s the centerpiece of your dental care routine. Brushing helps to remove the bacteria that promote tooth decay and the plaque that can cause gum disease. Proper brushing is essential for cleaning your teeth and surrounding gums.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day, using a toothpaste with fluoride (a natural mineral found in soil, water, and air that helps prevents cavities and tooth decay).
The ADA says that brushing for two minutes has been shown to achieve clinically significant plaque removal and a decreased risk of cavities (caries). Either manual or powered toothbrushes can be used effectively. Brushing your teeth isn’t complicated, but there is a right and a wrong way to do it.
The ADA recommends that you place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes. Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
Using a forward-sweeping motion, gently brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth to remove the bacteria that exist in these places.
The toothbrush as we know it was invented around 1500 in China. The nylon bristled toothbrush that we use today was introduced in 1938.
Many toothbrush designs are available. Both manual and powered toothbrushes are effective at removing plaque. The ADA recommends use of a toothbrush with soft bristles because they minimize the risk of hurting your gums. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily.
The ADA provides the following toothbrush care recommendations:
Replace toothbrushes at least every three to four months. As the bristles become frayed and worn with use, cleaning effectiveness decreases.
Do not share toothbrushes. Sharing a toothbrush may result in an exchange of microorganisms between the users of the toothbrush, placing the individuals involved at an increased risk for infections.
Rinse toothbrushes with warm tap water after brushing to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris.
Store the brush in an upright position and allow it to air-dry. Do not cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers.
People with arthritis or other health conditions that affect hand motion can use other techniques. Ask your dental care professional for advice on which type of toothbrush is best for you.
See your dentist if your regular brushing or flossing causes your gums to bleed or hurts your mouth. If you have any questions about your brushing technique and dental hygiene, or to schedule an appointment for a check-up, contact your dentist.
Dr. Ernie Soto can answer any of your questions about dental health, and help you to maintain healthy habits that can provide a lifetime of good oral care. For more information about your dental hygiene and teeth cleaning appointments, feel free to give us a call at (954) 368-6264 or request an appointment online.