Today we're going back to basics to talk about good brushing habits. Dental health always starts with regular and proper brushing, and if you're not brushing correctly, it is time to correct that behavior. The good news is it's easy to get into the right groove with brushing. You only need to pay attention to these tips and be cautious of falling back into bad routines and you'll be good to go!
Often people think they really have to get after it to get their teeth clean. We envision plaque as this hard, stuck-on agent that we've got to work hard to remove. The reality is all your teeth really need is a gentle, thorough scrubbing. If you're declaring war on your teeth with a vigorous, hard brushing technique, it's time to back it off a bit. Brushing too hard can actually remove enamel, which certainly isn't what you're looking to do when you clean your teeth. Stay gentle with your teeth and you'll get better results. One other thing, if you're using an electric brush, let it do the work and don't push too hard into your teeth with it. This too may damage your enamel.
Using a toothbrush properly is a bit like exploring every section of your mouth. Don't just focus on the front of the teeth, the back of the teeth need attention too. Don't forget about brushing the gums, they need it as much as the teeth. Spend time in each corner of your mouth, and hit the molars in the back of your mouth as much as you do the front teeth.
Knock The Same Old Routine
Dentists recommend starting at different parts of your mouth from time to time as you brush. Do you always brush your front teeth first? Start with your back molars the next time around. You should mix things up because the teeth you're used to starting with are probably getting much more attention than the others. Give your teeth an equal chance at the starring role, and start different places each time you brush.
Use The Right Tools
Mouths come in different shapes and sizes just like people. There is no one size fits all brush, and you should pay attention to your mouth when you shop for a brush. Those with small or narrow mouths may need a smaller brush while others will prefer the larger brushes. Take note of how your brush works when you use it. Don't be afraid to try something in a different size if things don't feel right. One other thing, don't forget to replace that old brush every 3-4 months. At that point, an old brush isn't doing your mouth any good and it needs to be retired.
Store Your Brush Properly
Like it or not, your brush is often stored in the bathroom, probably a little too close to the toilet for comfort. However there's not much to worry about in that regard. What you really need to pay attention to is how you store it. Brushes should be kept up in a brush rack or holder so they can properly dry out. This helps discourage a moist environment where bacteria can grow. Avoid leaving the brush on the sink as well. The sink counter can be a breeding ground for bacteria, and you don't want your brush touching it. One other thing, make sure to get a brush holder that doesn't allow other toothbrushes to touch yours. You may be a family, but you want to keep those brushes separate.
Take Your Time
It can be difficult to devote enough to time to brushing without getting distracted. For some, a period of 2 minutes for brushing can feel like a lifetime. But hey, in the grand scheme of things it's not that long. Stay strong and brush the full two minutes. You may be best served to reach a happy medium between being hyperfocused and zoning out. If you check out too much while you brush, you won't do things properly. However, if you're extremely focused on what you're doing, you might not take enough time to get the job done properly. Embrace the task and the two minutes will fly by. We promise, they really will.
Need More Tips?
Are you curious to learn about other brushing tips that can increase your oral health? Stop into Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry or schedule a cleaning and we'd be happy to share our knowledge with you. It's only a short journey to better brushing habits. Start today!
Image two courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.