Brushing your teeth is an important step in your daily routine. Even though we brush our teeth daily, we often may not be doing it properly. Not doing it properly could lead to cavities, root canals, and dentures. You would be seeing your dentist a lot more than you’d like (my family dentist in San Diego knows me by name and phone number!)
For a healthy mouth and beautiful smile, follow these simple steps to learn how to properly care for your teeth:
1. Before you begin brushing, floss your teeth. Pull out a foot-long string of floss and wrap the ends of the floss around your pointer and middle fingers. Place the floss between two teeth in a push and pull motion. Use a new section of the floss for each tooth you clean.
2. Apply a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush. Fluoride toothpaste is recommended because it removes the tough plaque that can accumulate on your teeth and gums.
3. Hold your toothbrush to your gums at a 45-degree angle. In small, gentle strokes, move your toothbrush back and forth along your teeth, ensuring that you brush both the outer and inner surfaces of each tooth. It’s important to let the brush bristles clean in between the spaces of each tooth. When cleaning the inside surfaces of the teeth, tilt the brush and move it in an up and down motion. Make sure to reach the back teeth as well.
4. Brush gently along the gums. If you brush too hard, you will cause irritation and bleeding. Brushing too hard may feel more effective, but it is actually damaging and unhealthy. Don’t forget to brush your tongue in a sweeping back and forth motion. Brushing your tongue helps remove any excess food particles that can cause bad breath.
5. Brush your teeth for least two minutes. The majority of people fall short of the suggested brushing time. You can use a stopwatch to time yourself or find an electric toothbrush that has a built-in timer.
6. Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brushing twice a day removes food and bacteria that can build up. Always brush your teeth before you go to bed to get rid of the bacteria that built up during the day. The same goes for brushing your teeth each morning when you get up. Any excess bacteria in your mouth can lead to the formation of plaque, so it’s important to start each day with a fresh and clean mouth.
7. Replace your toothbrush every three months. It’s important to throw a toothbrush away when the bristles start to fray because it won’t clean your teeth as well as it should. Don’t forget to visit your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and oral exams.