Everyone knows that brushing your teeth is an important part of the daily oral routine that cannot be skipped. Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth 2 times a day for 2 minutes, once in the morning and once before sleep. Most people will carry out this routine without knowing the proper way to brush teeth. Some may even rush through the job as they need to get to work or school on time.
In this blog, I would like to share about the proper way to brush teeth, the tools to use and the techniques to master as well as to avoid the common tooth brushing mistakes.
Why The Need To Brush Your Teeth?
Some people felt that there is no need to brush their teeth so long as they floss their teeth after every meal and use a mouthwash to rinse their teeth and freshen their breath. So, is there a need to brush our teeth twice a day besides flossing and rinsing your mouth? Although flossing your teeth and rinsing with a mouthwash is part of the oral hygiene routine, it does not completely clean your teeth. Here are some important reasons why you need to brush your teeth:
1. Brushing helps to get rid of dental plaque from your teeth. Plaque is formed when the bacteria in the mouth feed on the food that remains in your teeth. If the plaque is not removed, it will start to erode your tooth enamel, eventually causing tooth decay and gum disease.
2. Brushing your teeth regularly helps to remove stains on the teeth.
3. Brushing your teeth helps to remove any food particles that are caught in between the teeth and gumlines as well as from the back of teeth that are not reachable using floss.
4. Regular brushing of teeth helps to improve your overall dental health and reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
It Is Important To Use The Right Tooth Brushing Tools
To help us do the job of brushing our teeth properly, we need to use the right tools. The basic essential tools to brush your teeth are a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss or picks.
The toothbrush is a tooth cleaning tool created by mankind since the early civilisations. The toothbrush of today comes in a variety of shapes and sizes for different needs and preferences. Most dentists recommend using a toothbrush with soft bristles as hard bristles can erode the tooth enamel. The head of the toothbrush should be small enough to fit into the mouth so that it can reach the back of the teeth to clean the difficult to reach areas.
You can use either manual or electric toothbrushes as they are both equally good at doing the job of cleaning your teeth although some people find it easier to clean their teeth with an electric toothbrush.
Toothbrush should be replaced every three months as the bristle will wear out over prolonged use and are no longer effective. The toothbrush should be replaced once the bristles are frayed even if it is less than three months.
The toothpaste of today comes in a wide variety of designs to help deal with various dental problems including preventing tooth decay, gum recessions, removing plaque and stains and helping with sensitive teeth.
Most dentists recommend using a fluoride toothpaste as it helps to strengthen the tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Fluoride toothpaste should not be ingested as it may cause serious health problems. Children using fluoride toothpaste should be under adult to ensure that they spit out the toothpaste after brushing and not swallow it. Care must be taken to ensure that the child does not lick or eat the toothpaste from the tube.
For those who prefer to use fluoride-free toothpaste, there are many varieties of toothpaste made using natural ingredients that promote tooth remineralisation, reduce gum recessions, remove plaque, reduce sensitivity and freshen breath.
Flossing helps to remove food particles that are trapped in the gaps between the teeth and they are not reachable by toothbrush bristles. It is recommended that you should floss your teeth before brushing them. Some people prefer to use dental picks while others prefer interdental brush instead of dental floss. Whether you use dental floss or dental picks or interdental brush, the results are the same when used correctly.
Mastering The Proper Brushing Techniques
Mastering the proper brushing techniques ensure that you are brushing your teeth correctly so that your teeth are kept clean, free from plaque and harmful bacteria.
1. First, use a small amount of water to wet your mouth. Next squeeze a pea-size amount of toothpaste onto your toothbrush. Do not use too much toothpaste as the excess foam makes brushing difficult.
2. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gumline.
3. Brush a few teeth at a time, using gentle, short circular strokes. Start from the outside lower right teeth and move slowly to the outer lower left side. Next, flip your toothbrush to brush the inside lower right teeth and moving slowly towards the left side. Do not forget to brush the chewing surface of your molars. After you have complete brushing the lower teeth, repeat the same procedure for the upper teeth.
4. Be sure to spend at least 2 minutes to brush your teeth. To time yourself, you listen to a song while brushing. The duration of the song is a guide to ensure that you are brushing your teeth long enough. You can also use the app, Brush DJ that plays 2 minutes of your favourite music while you brush your teeth.
5. Next, brush your tongue. Do this gently so that the tissues do not get damaged. Brushing your tongue helps to get rid of bacteria and freshens your breath.
6. After the brushing is completed, rinse your mouth with cold water.
7. Next, clean up toothbrush by putting under running water for a few seconds to remove any bacteria and remaining toothpaste. Dry your toothbrush to prevent bacteria from growing on the toothbrush. Do not keep the wet toothbrush in a closed case or container as this prevents the toothbrush from drying.
8 Complete the cleaning routine using a mouthwash. This is an optional step for some people who prefer to protect their teeth using a fluoride mouth rinse or some other organic mouthwash with essential oils.
Tooth Brushing Mistakes – Are You Making Them?
You may think that tooth brushing is a simple task, how could anyone make a mistake with that? Tooth brushing mistakes are easier to make than what most would think. For most people, they would have been brushing their teeth since young and therefore, they could have gotten into tooth brushing habits that are wrong without them realising it. The most common tooth brushing mistakes are:
1. Not brushing long enough
As we all know that we need to brush our teeth for 2 whole minutes to ensure the teeth are thoroughly clean and free from plaque. Most people thought that they have brushed their teeth for 2 whole minutes, but they would be surprised to learn that it is actually shorter than what they thought. Use a stopwatch or timer to ensure that you have brushed your teeth for 2 minutes. Another method is to use an electric toothbrush that has a timer.
2. Not thorough in cleaning those teeth at the back of the mouth
In their daily routine of brushing teeth, most people will have done a good job of brushing their front teeth well. However, little attention has been paid to those teeth at the back of their mouth. As these teeth are often harder to brush as they are far behind and one needs to pay more attention to ensure that those difficult to reach areas get cleaned thoroughly.
3. Not changing toothbrush as often as required
Dentists recommend that toothbrush should be changed every 3 months or when the bristle become discoloured or frayed. Discoloured and frayed bristles are signs that the toothbrush is worn out and needs to be replaced as it is no longer effective in doing its job of keeping your teeth clean. The toothbrush should be frequently checked for signs of worn out.
After using your toothbrush continuously for 3 months, there will be food particles and bacteria accumulated on your toothbrush. That is the other reason you should not hold on to your toothbrush for too long.
4. Using the wrong type of toothbrush
Dentists generally recommend toothbrushes with soft bristles as they are easy to bend and flexible enough to reach narrow spaces in your mouth to get your teeth clean. The thinking that hard bristles clean better is not true as soft bristles do the job just as well. Hard bristle will wear down your tooth enamel.
Toothbrushes come in various shapes and sizes. The toothbrush head should not be too big as it will prevent you from reaching the back of your teeth. On the other hand, a bristle head that is too small or narrow not only makes it difficult for brushing but also it does not thoroughly cover the tooth surface during the brushing process. The size and shape of the toothbrush handle not only helps to make brushing easier but also helps to do a thorough cleaning.
5. You go too hard on your teeth
Some people don’t brush their teeth, they scrub their teeth instead just like they are scrubbing their bathroom tiles. The problem is that they feel that they are not cleaning their teeth properly if they do not brush hard. Plaque can be removed easily by just brushing gently, which is why you do not need hard bristles to do the job. Brushing your teeth too hard will wear out your tooth enamel, make your tooth sensitive.
6. Two is enough, no more no less
Most people know that they need to brush their teeth 2 times a day for 2 minutes each. Why do you need to brush teeth in the morning? Brushing your teeth in the morning helps get rid of bacteria that has accumulated overnight. Brushing your teeth before bed is also important as the plaque produced by the bacteria will start will build up if you do not brush your teeth. The plaque if not removed through brushing will eventually harden and become a substance called tartar. Tartar build-up will lead to tooth decay and tooth loss.
While some people do not brush their teeth twice a day, some people brush their teeth too many times a day as they think that it is necessary to keep their teeth clean after every meal. According to some dentists, brushing your teeth more than 2 times a day can damage gums and cause your tooth enamel to erode.
7. Brushing immediately after a meal
People who diligently brush their teeth after every meal tend to make this mistake of brushing immediately after eating. Your saliva in the mouth has higher acid content after eating and brushing your teeth immediately is helping the acids to erode your tooth enamel faster. It is recommended to wait for 20 to 30 minutes after eating before you brush your teeth. If you cannot wait, rinse your mouth with some water to help get rid of the acid before you start brushing.
Get It Correct And Avoid Expensive Dental Treatments
Most people would have already the habit of brushing their teeth twice a day. However, they may not have acquired the correct way and technique to brush their teeth. Making changes to correct the way of doing something that you have done for a long time requires effort and time. The correct method and habit of brushing your teeth daily can be achieved through some diligence over time. The results are a cleaner set of teeth, fresher mouth and the ability to avoid expensive dental treatments.
Do you have tooth brushing experience and techniques that you would like to share? Feel free to leave it in the comments below.