Mastering proper toothbrushing techniques is a vital part of maintaining a beautiful smile. While you may brush your teeth multiple times a day, are you confident that your efforts are really getting the job done? Could your method use a little polishing?
Brushing Up on Toothbrushing Fundamentals
When it comes to getting your teeth clean and keeping your mouth healthy, it helps to recognize some dental fundamentals. How can you prep for success when it comes to brushing your teeth? For proper toothbrushing, you’ll need to plan on doing all of the following:
- Spending a minimum of two minutes brushing your teeth every time that you brush
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day
- Using a fluoride toothpaste
- Using a soft-bristled brush that is the appropriate size and shape for your mouth so that you can easily reach all of the areas requiring cleaning
- Replacing your toothbrush every three months or whenever its bristles appear frayed
Exploring Toothbrushing Techniques
Learning about the fundamentals of toothbrushing is a good place to start, but you also have to translate theory into practice. What procedure should you follow when brushing your teeth to keep your smile healthy? The American Dental Association has some recommendations regarding toothbrushing techniques that can help the average person get the most out of their brushing. These suggestions present a good starting point for most people, but there are certain circumstances where a slightly different technique might be called for.
Basic Toothbrushing Technique
When it comes to brushing your teeth, the experts at the American Dental Association recommend that you place the toothbrush against the surface of your teeth so that the bristles are at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Using short, tooth-wide strokes, move the brush gently back and forth to clean food particles, bacteria, and plaque from the outer surfaces of your upper and lower teeth. Next, brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Finally, clean the inner surfaces of your upper and lower teeth. How do you get the inside of your front teeth? Holding the brush vertically, make several up and down strokes. For a thorough cleaning, pay careful attention to ensure that you reach every possible tooth surface. The entire process should require at least two minutes. If you’re done brushing in less than two minutes, you’re likely missing a few places. This mistake could leave you more vulnerable to tooth decay.
What if you favor a battery-powered toothbrush over a traditional manual toothbrush? Although the tool might be a bit different, the technique should remain the same. If you prefer to use a power toothbrush during your daily dental hygiene routine, then you’ll want to follow the same basic steps that someone using a manual toothbrush would to get clean, healthy teeth. In addition, look out for battery-powered toothbrushes that include a timer to ensure you brush your teeth for a full two minutes.
Brushing with Braces
Orthodontic treatments can perfect your smile. They can also make toothbrushing a bit of a challenge. If you are brushing with braces, you’ll want to take extra care. Start by working above the brackets and arch wire on the outer surfaces of your top teeth. Again, place the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line and use short strokes to clean the surface there. Next, turn the toothbrush so that it sweeps over the tops of the brackets and brush there. Then, reposition the toothbrush so that it is angled up against the underside of the brackets and the lower front of the teeth to clean those surfaces. Do the same thing with the outer surfaces of your lower teeth. Your goal is to brush every tooth at the gum line and above and below the wires and brackets. Then, brush the chewing surfaces and inner surfaces of your teeth. Brushing with braces can take some getting used to. If you find yourself struggling to clean around an orthodontic appliance, be sure to ask your dentist or orthodontist for advice at your next visit.
When children are first learning to brush or someone has trouble with coordination or dexterity, circular brushing might be recommended. When using this technique, you’ll still hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and follow the same basic pattern of methodically cleaning the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of your upper and lower teeth. The difference is in the movement of the brush. Instead of stroking the toothbrush back and forth across the teeth, move it in small, overlapping circles until all areas of the teeth have been cleaned.
Do you want to maintain your bright, healthy smile? For your best grin, you’ll want to combine the use of good toothbrushing techniques with eating healthy, limiting sugary snacks, flossing routinely, and paying regular visits to your dentist for checkups. To learn more about effective toothbrushing and dental hygiene, schedule an appointment with Duff Family Dental if you live in the Springfield, Missouri, area. We offer a full line of general, cosmetic, pediatric, and restorative dentistry services. Call us at 417-501-8601 or schedule an appointment today!