Are you brushing your teeth the right way?

by: Sandy Johnson, RDH

Brushing your teeth regularly is crucial in maintaining good oral health, however many people are still struggling with oral hygiene because they aren’t brushing the right way. Dental experts recommend brushing twice a day, though three times is ideal.

In addition to frequency, the duration of each brushing period is important. Each brushing session should last between two to three minutes to best remove the plaque buildup and bacteria trapped on and around your teeth. To help hit the minimum two-minute mark, some find it beneficial to divide the mouth into four sections and allocate 30 seconds for each (i.e. top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right).

The final components of brushing efficiency are strength and method. Brushing softly for the recommended time is best. Brushing too hard and vigorously may actually start to breakdown teeth’s enamel and ultimately increase the risk of exposure to air and food that can cause sensitivity and/or cavities. The technique of brushing is also commonly misunderstood and can result in subpar oral health. For accurate effectiveness, toothbrushes should be held at a 45-degree angle and strokes should always be circular, not vertical or horizontally dragged across the teeth. Using these motions, brush the inner and outer parts of the teeth and gum line, and don’t forget to give your tongue some brush love too. Culminate your brushing time with a rinse to remove remaining toothpaste and rid of loose bacteria left from brushing.

Following these guidelines and changing your toothbrush every three or so months will help keep your teeth clean and protected from plaque build up and cavities.

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