6 Simple Tips for More Effective Tooth Brushing

Tooth brushing is something we all do (hopefully!). But that doesn’t mean we all do it right. While it might seem mundane, there’s actually an art to brushing your teeth.

When it comes to tooth brushing, certain approaches are more or less effective at removing plaque and preserving your oral health. Here are six simple tips that will ensure you’re reaping maximum benefits every time you brush your teeth.

1. Choose the right brush.

You might think the most effective way to remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth is to attack them with a hard-bristled brush. In reality, the best option for your oral health is a brush with soft bristles. That’s because softer bristles are more flexible, which allows them to bend into the nooks and crannies between your teeth and target hard-to-reach places.

In addition to choosing soft bristles, here are a few other things to keep in mind when purchasing a new toothbrush:

·Look for a brush with the American Dental Association seal of approval.

·Make sure the head is the right size for your mouth. You should be able to reach the front, back, and tops of each tooth, including those in the very back. If your brush can’t fit, choose one with a smaller head.

·Make sure the handle fits comfortably in your hand so you’re in control of the brush’s movements during each brushing.

2. Use the right technique.

There are several things to keep in mind when it comes to proper tooth brushing technique:

·Hold your toothbrush at an approximate 45-degree angle relative to your teeth and gums.

·Brush each tooth individually. Target the outer and inner sides as well as the chewing surfaces of each tooth. Use small, circular, up-and-down motions instead of shoving the brush back and forth.

·Be gentle. Applying lots of pressure to your teeth won’t remove plaque any better than applying gentle pressure, and it may actually hurt your gums. When it comes to tooth brushing, there’s no need to embody the Incredible Hulk.

3. Mind the numbers.

The number of times you brush each day and the number of minutes you spend brushing make a big difference for your oral health. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and make sure every brushing session lasts for at least two minutes.

4. Shake up where you start.

Most of us follow the same process every time we brush, right down to starting in the same section of our mouth. This means the teeth you brush near the end are probably being neglected, because most of us tend to lose focus as each tooth brushing session goes on. Make sure all your teeth receive top-level care by starting on a different tooth every time you brush.

5. Remember your gums and tongue.

Bacteria tend to congregate at the intersection of your teeth and gums, so make sure you target your gum line (on both the outside and tongue-side of your teeth) every time you brush.

It’s also a good idea to brush your tongue along with your teeth and gums, as this removes even more bacteria from your mouth. Not only is tongue-brushing good for your oral health, but it will also help stave off bad breath.

6. Keep your toothbrush clean.

If you brush your teeth with a dirty toothbrush, you’re just smearing bacteria all over your mouth. Avoid this nasty situation by thoroughly rinsing your toothbrush after each use and storing it upright (e.g. in a cup) instead of letting it rest on the bathroom counter. It’s also important to invest in a new toothbrush (or a new toothbrush head if you’re using an electronic brush) approximately every three months.

Of course, none of these strategies are a replacement for getting your teeth cleaned by a dentist a few times a year. But these tips will help ensure that your breath stays fresh, your mouth stays squeaky clean, and your teeth stay healthy over the long haul.  

Rifkin Dental