The best way to maintain your oral health is to keep good oral care and hygiene habits. And the foundation of all good oral habits is brushing your teeth. Dentists recommend that you should brush your teeth for 3 min twice daily with fortified toothpaste – once in the morning when you wake up, and once in the evening before bed.
The benefits of brushing your teeth
By brushing your teeth twice a day, you can receive a number of benefits including whiter teeth, fresher breath, and the prevention of plaque, tooth decay and gum disease. You’ll also save money by avoiding potentially expensive dental treatment for oral conditions that are entirely preventable.
Do you use good tooth brushing technique?
The way you hold and brush with your toothbrush can affect your brushing effectiveness.
For best results on the front and back of your teeth, hold your toothbrush at a 45˚ angle against the gumline, and use a combination of gentle circular or back & forth motions to brush and sweep away food debris & plaque, especially along the gumline. When brushing your chewing surfaces, use a short back & forth brushing motion.
It is also important that your brush strokes are short and precise in order to avoid damaging your delicate gum tissue, and exposing your vulnerable tooth root surfaces to oral bacteria.
Are you brushing each & every tooth in your mouth thoroughly?
Don’t rush it. Take your time. Since brushing your teeth is one of those daily routines that we tend to perform automatically, you may be missing those hard-to-reach areas behind your teeth – the ones you can’t see in the mirror! Yet it’s these same areas that are often hot spots for bacterial and plaque formation.
The key to a complete clean is to methodically target the exposed tooth surfaces of every tooth in your mouth, including the gumline, and the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of your teeth. To clean between your teeth use floss or an interdental brush.
Don’t forget to brush or scrape your tongue also!
Choose the right toothbrush, keep it clean, and replace every 3 mths
A soft-bristled toothbrush used gently is the recommended way to clean and remove plaque without wearing out your protective tooth enamel. If the back of your mouth has narrow spaces that are too difficult for a normal-sized brush head to reach, then try a toothbrush with a smaller head. Don’t simply skip those areas!
Replace your toothbrush once it begins to show signs of wear, or every 3 months. Waiting 6 months is way too long. Worn and frayed brushes can harbour tens of millions of oral bacteria, including Staph, E. coli and even fecal germs, if you have a toilet in your bathroom.
Disinfect your toothbrush between brushes by soaking the head in some antiseptic mouthwash. Store your brush out of contact with other toothbrushes; otherwise your brush may get infected with someone else’s oral bacteria.
Assess your brushing effectiveness
As good as you may think that your brushing is, you can’t really tell at a glance if you’ve missed cleaning all the plaque off your teeth. That’s because plaque is barely visible at a glance, and it’s difficult to see it in the dark recesses at the back of your mouth.
Brushing, on average, only removes 40% of existing plaque. So if your next dental visit is months away, your back teeth may be slowly decaying and eroding despite brushing twice a day.
The solution? Try plaque disclosing tablets which stain tooth plaque blue or purple so you can spot and target plaque more easily, instead of brushing blindly and hoping for the best! Use a small dental mirror to check out stained plaque at the back of your teeth.