We all know how important it is to brush our teeth twice a day – it gets drilled into daily us as children. But did you know that a lot of us aren’t actually brushing our teeth properly? Every day, our Tauranga dentists see the signs of incorrect tooth brushing, so don’t feel bad if you’re not getting it quite right.
Is there really a right and a wrong way?
Yes! While incorrect brushing is better than nothing, effective toothbrushing is important to prevent cavities, stop plaque from building up and look after your gums. Your oral health will be at its best if you follow these tips.
Choose the right toothbrush
Dentists recommend using a soft bristle toothbrush, or extra soft for children. Soft nylon bristles are gentle on the gums and effectively remove trapped food and plaque; firmer bristles can damage your enamel and cause your gums to recede. Choose a toothbrush with a small head – they’re small enough to reach every nook and cranny inside your mouth. And remember to replace your toothbrush every three months or when the bristles start to fray.
If you have no particular problems, a small, pea-sized dab of fluoridated toothpaste is best. For issues like gingivitis, plaque, stains or tooth sensitivity, there are special toothpastes that can help with your particular needs. Your Tauranga dentist can help you figure out which one is right for you.
The nitty gritty of brushing
Begin brushing the gumline at the back of your mouth. From here, work your way along all your teeth, top and bottom, inside and out. Get your molars, your canines and your incisors (front teeth). Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle and don’t brush too vigorously or you can damage the enamel. Keep brushing for two minutes – use a stopwatch or play a short song to make sure you’re going the distance.
Brush your tongue
People are often surprised to hear the dentist asks if they brush their tongue. The tongue can harbour harmful bacteria which, over time, can rot your teeth and cause bad breath. Use the bristles or choose a toothbrush with a scraper on the back and get brushing.
Skip the mouthwash
If you’re brushing your teeth properly, you shouldn’t need mouthwash. In fact, mouthwashes are often alcohol-based, which can dry out your mouth and lead to cavities. If you do want mouthwash to get minty fresh breath before a date or meeting, your dentist can recommend one that is alcohol-free.
Get a dental check
Start your new tooth brushing regime on the right foot – book an appointment with Duncan Dental in Tauranga today.