Most people are in the habit of brushing their teeth—and this is a good thing! But sometimes habits and routines produce bad techniques. Could it be that you aren’t protecting your teeth from germs and bacteria as well as you think you are? Check out our guidelines of the do’s and don’t’s of brushing your teeth to find out.
Do brush at least two times a day. The American Dental Association says its best to brush your teeth at least twice a day—once in the morning when you wake up and once in the evening before bed. Of course, brushing every time you eat is even better. Brushing at least twice a day will help to ensure that you are removing cavity-causing germs and plaque from your teeth.
Don’t forget to change out your toothbrush. You may be surprised to find out that the American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. You should replace it even sooner if the bristles are matted or frayed. Old, worn-out toothbrushes will not clean your teeth as effectively as a new one will. It’s also important to change out your toothbrush if you’ve been sick.
Do use an ADA-accepted toothpaste. The most popular toothpaste brands such as Colgate, Crest, and Sensodyne all have the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Among other important criteria, what these ADA-accepted toothpastes all have in common is fluoride, which is essential in preventing tooth decay.
Don’t brush too hard. Often people think that the harder they brush, the cleaner their teeth will be, when in fact brushing too hard can cause damage to the gums. Instead of brushing harder, focus on your technique. To clean the front teeth, place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle with your gums and lightly move it back and forth in short, gentle strokes. Use the same technique to brush the inside, outside, and tops of the molars. Pay special attention to the back, hard-to-reach teeth and the areas around fillings or crowns. Also, make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush because they are much gentler on your teeth and gums. Overtime, hard-bristled toothbrushes can be responsible for brushing away the enamel from your teeth.
Do brush for two minutes. This may sound simple, but very few adults actually brush for an entire two minutes. To get in the habit of brushing for this long, we suggest using a timer. It may feel like an eternity at first, but once you get used to it you won’t even notice the time.
Don’t neglect your tongue. Brushing your tongue at the end of your two-minute teeth brushing routine will help remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
We hope this list of do’s and don’t’s is helpful to you and will help you reevaluate your teeth brushing routine. Remember, one of the best ways you can keep your mouth healthy is to visit your dentist for a routine checkup and dental cleaning twice a year.