10th January 2018

How to Brush Your Teeth Properly – Yes, Really!

It’s probably been a long time since you last thought about how to brush your teeth. It’s something that we learn as children and then just assume we’re doing it right well into adulthood. Unfortunately, even if you’re brushing twice a day, all of your efforts might be going to waste if you have picked up bad habits. Some people brush too hard, others don’t brush for long enough, and some people don’t give the front and back teeth equal attention. To refresh your memory, here’s a quick guide showing how to brush your teeth properly.

How to Brush your Teeth Properly

1. Hold your toothbrush at a 45° angle to your gums
2. Move your brush back and forth in small, circular movements
3. Brush the inner, outer and chewing surfaces of your teeth
4. Hold your toothbrush vertically to brush the inner surface of your front teeth
5. Brush for 2 minutes

Common Mistakes

  • Selecting the wrong toothbrush. Although some people say they prefer a firmer toothbrush, this can cause gum irritation and strip away your tooth enamel. We would always advise patients to use a brush with a small head and medium bristles.
  • Skipping the floss. Your toothbrush can only do so much, so you need to finish by flossing to ensure you get rid of the bacteria and food particles that settle between your teeth and below the gum line.
  • Rinsing after brushing. After brushing your teeth, spit to get rid of any excess toothpaste in your mouth, but don’t rinse it away with water.
  • Choosing the wrong toothpaste. You should be using a fluoride toothpaste containing 1450 ppm fluoride, or a higher one if prescribed by your dentist. We stock fluoride toothpaste containing 2800 ppm and 5000 ppm in the practice.
  • Not replacing your brush. It’s important to replace your toothbrush every 3 months as the bristles will wear down and become less effective. Many modern toothbrushes will include a colour indicator to let you know when it’s time to get a new brush, but you can always pop a reminder on your calendar.
  • Ignoring your tongue. The tongue harbours a lot of bacteria and can lead to bad breath. Rather than loading up your toothbrush with bacteria by using it to brush your tongue, pick up an inexpensive tongue cleaner to get that fresh mouth feeling.
  • Adjusting to an electric toothbrush. When people switch to an electric toothbrush, they often continue the back and forth motion. This is unnecessary, so switching to an electric toothbrush requires a refresh of your technique. We would advise patients use an oscillating rotating model, such as the Oral B. You should then use the brush head to clean each tooth and the gum individually – no scrubbing required!

If you’re curious to know if you’re brushing your teeth correctly, why not book an appointment with one of our dental hygienists. Unlike many practices, we have a dental hygienist available 5 days a week, and you don’t have to be registered with us to make an appointment! They’ll be able to give you loads of top tips and give you advice on how best to clean your teeth.

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