A Discussion of Proper Brushing Technique

Did you remember to brush your teeth today? Did you brush last night? Did you realize that brushing is your oral health’s first line of defense? When you brush your teeth, you remove sugars, acids, carbohydrates and other problems that can lead to gum disease and cavities—and it helps relieve bad breath. To enjoy all of these benefits, dental experts recommend brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time every day. An easy way to keep this in mind is to remember the 2/2/7 rule. If you are interested in learning more about how you can get the most out of brushing your teeth, please read on. We will be focusing on proper brushing techniques, different types of toothbrushes, and different tips for maintaining oral health.

How to Brush Properly:  

According to the American Dental Hygienists Association, these are the steps you should follow to have a beautiful, healthy smile.

  1. Put your bristles along the gumline at a 45-degree angle. The bristles should touch the surface and gumline,
  2. Brush the tooth 2-3 times in back and forth motions. This motion should happen with your brush moves towards the chewing surface. This is sometimes referred to as a circular motion. Repeat this process until all of your teeth have been cleaned.
  3. Using the same angle and motion, brush the interior of your teeth.
  4. Tilt your brush vertically and brush behind your front teeth. Use up and down motions to brush the back of your front teeth.
  5. Put the brush against your biting surface, and brush with a gentle back and forth motion. Brush your tongue from back to front to remove the cause of bacteria.

Which Type of Toothbrush?
Have you ever been overwhelmed when you go to the store for deodorant, shampoo, or a new toothbrush and seen all the options available? We understand your feeling, and are happy to offer you some information about the different types of toothbrushes available to you, with help from our friends at Oral-B.

Soft or Extra Soft Bristles vs. Medium Bristles-Using a toothbrush with soft or even extra-soft bristles are most common for patients and dentists. These bristles are gently, making them ideal for someone with sensitive gums and teeth, or for someone recuperating from a dental treatment. However, some people prefer medium or hard bristles because they believe these toothbrushes will remove plaque and bacteria more effectively. This may or may not be true. We recommend speaking to your dentist to choose the best toothbrush for you.

Toothbrush Head Shape- Toothbrushes come with heads of various shapes and sizes, designed to fit different mouths. Some heads mix different sized bristles, are shaped like a cup to clean around your teeth, or they could have a diagonal design to clean along the gumline thoroughly. If you have a question about which toothbrush head is best for you, please talk to your dentist.

Electric vs. Manual- Which toothbrush is better: electric or manual? Unfortunately, there is quite a debate. If you are facing this decision, we recommend speaking with your dentist first. Electric toothbrushes allow for even brushing and cover your entire tooth. However, they are a more expensive option. Regardless of what you choose, purchasing a toothbrush is a worthwhile investment.

Brushing Your Child’s Teeth

The most important thing for brushing your child’s teeth is simply starting while your little one is young. We recommend teaching them and giving them a good example to provide encouragement and encouraging them to continue while they are older. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, parents should start cleaning their child’s teeth with a cloth as soon as the first tooth appears. When more teeth come in, you can use a small toothbrush instead of the washcloth. When the child is two years old, introduce toothpaste with fluoride, but make sure your child rinses thoroughly and does not swallow the toothpaste.

Tips for the Elderly:

When we get older, it is important to maintain your oral health properly and to remember that it’s not a bad thing to ask for help. Here are a few things we can help adults brush their teeth, from ToothWisdom.org:

  1. Think about the easiest way to brush their teeth. Don’t assume that you should be standing in front of a sink. You may try brushing at a table with a bowl of water. Please remember to make the process as easy as possible.
  2. Use less toothpaste, or avoid toothpaste completely. The little bit of toothpaste can be a problem for some people, and it is possible to remove plaque and bacteria without toothpaste.
  3. Choose a toothbrush that is easy to hold and that has soft bristles. You may consider modifying a toothbrush with a large handles to help with the loss of dexterity. Also, electric toothbrushes may by an option since they are usually easier to manage.
  4. Brush teeth gently along the gumline and clean behind the lips and cheeks. Food can get stuck deep in the mouth, and cleaning these hard-to-reach areas will lead to a cleaner mouth.

Brushing your teeth twice a day, every day, for two minutes at a time helps us prevent the effects of bacteria and fights gum disease and tooth decay. Please remember to start  young and continue to brush thoroughly throughout your lifetime.