Brushing your teeth may not seem like rocket science, but you would be surprised to learn just how many people brush their teeth incorrectly. Teaching children to brush their teeth properly when they are young is the key to keeping them in the habit for the rest of their lives. When adults find that they are already in the habit of brushing the wrong way, it can be challenging to change the method of brushing, but doing so can improve your oral health and ultimately save your teeth.
One common mistake people make is using a brush that isn’t the right size for their mouth. Your toothbrush should fit into your mouth comfortably without requiring you to make an effort to open your mouth exceptionally wide. The bristles should on the softer side: Bristles that are too stiff can hurt your gums.
When you brush, you should keep it up for two minutes. One method to make the time go faster is to count for 30 second while brushing each of four sections of your mouth. You might also try watching TV while brushing, but don’t brush for more than two minutes or you could do damage to your teeth and gums.
One of the hardest habits for many adults to break is brushing from side to side. The toothbrush should move up and down on your teeth, because side-to-side brushing can scrape the gums.
You should buy a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, and always be sure to rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after every use and store it upright. Don’t cover your toothbrush, except for brief times if necessary to pack in a suitcase. Toothbrushes should be allowed to air dry.
Your toothpaste matters, too! Whitening toothpastes used every time you brush can be harsh for your teeth. If you want to use whitening toothpaste, alternate between it and regular fluoride toothpaste.
Contrary to what you might think, it’s not a good idea to brush right after eating, especially if you eat sugary foods like candy, or drink diet soda, coffee, or tea. Right after eating, your tooth enamel is weakened by acids in the foods. If you brush right away, the brushing will weaken the enamel further. Wait about half an hour, to give your saliva time to naturally wash away the acids and strengthen the enamel.
As for how often you should brush: Twice a day is enough, but three times a day is better. And always floss after brushing, to get rid of food particles between teeth that no brush can reach.
Changing your habits requires minimal effort, and it can make all the difference for the health of your teeth! For additional information and tips, speak with your dentist. Happy smiles!