Proper brushing in combination with flossing will help to keep teeth and gums healthy and prevent common dental problems such as gum disease. Brushing regularly is an important factor in maintaining oral health.
What tools do I need for proper tooth and gum brushing?
- Use a high quality, soft, angled bristle toothbrush or an electric toothbrush: Soft, flexible bristles are more gentle on the gums. An angled toothbrush makes it much easier to remove plaque below the gum line, helping to prevent periodontal disease.
- Use toothpaste with fluoride: Fluoride hardens the outer enamel layer of the teeth, increasing their resistance to cavities.
What is the proper way to brush my teeth?
- Use a pattern when you brush: To avoid missing teeth, it is helpful to start with the areas that are easily forgotten like the insides of the teeth and back chewing areas.
- Carefully brush all tooth surfaces: Move the brush over the surface of 2 to 3 teeth at a time using short, circular motions and applying firm but gentle pressure so that the bristles slide under the gum line. Do not use a back-and- forth motion on teeth as this causes damage to the gums. Allow some overlap as you move to the next set of teeth to make sure that the brush makes contact with each tooth on all sides and surfaces.
- Brush for at least 3 to 4 minutes: Dentists recommend brushing for at least the entire length of a song. To ensure you are brushing for the recommended period of time try listening to the radio or watching TV while you brush. You can also use an egg timer to track your time.
- Brush your tongue: This removes germs and bacteria and helps to keep your breath fresh.
- Rinse with water after brushing: This will discard any debris left after brushing and keep your mouth moist, preventing dry mouth.
- Change your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months: Not only are old toothbrushes ineffective, they can also harbour harmful bacteria that can cause infection. You should also change your toothbrush after any illness.