Welcome to our comprehensive guide on tooth brushing, the foundation of a healthy oral hygiene routine. On this page, we'll provide you with essential information about the important of brushing, proper tooth brushing techniques with both manual and electric toothbrushes, advice on what toothbrush and toothpaste to use, and tips for maintaining a bright smile. Let's get started!
Why is brushing important?
Tooth brushing is crucial for maintaining optimal oral health. Daily tooth brushing and cleaning between your teeth is important because it removes plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gumline. If not removed, plaque can lead to cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
- Preventing Tooth Decay: Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste helps strengthen the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay.
- Gum Health: Proper brushing removes food particles and bacteria from the gumline, reducing the risk of gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Fresh Breath: Brushing eliminates odor-causing bacteria, keeping your breath fresh and pleasant.
How often should I brush my teeth?
It's recommended to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, last thing at night (or before bedtime) and on one other occasion throughout the day, preferably in the morning. Remember to replace your toothbrush every two to three months or when the bristles become frayed. If you keep getting discomfort or bleeding after brushing, book an appointment with your dentist.
What is the proper tooth brushing technique?
Don't feel like reading all this? Look below to find short, 2-minute videos, made by our hygienist, that explain how to use manual and electric toothbrushes.
Brushing removes plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, from the surfaces of your teeth and the gumline. Follow these steps to ensure an effective tooth brushing routine:
- Positioning: Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards your gumline.
- Gentle Circular Motions: Use short, gentle circular motions to brush the outer surfaces, inner surfaces, and chewing surfaces of your teeth. Pay extra attention to the gumline, where plaque tends to accumulate.
- Brush All Surfaces: Brush all the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of your teeth. To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, it can help to tilt the brush vertically and make several small circular strokes with the toe (the front part) of the brush.
- Two Minute Brushing: Brush for approximately two minutes to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums. You can use a timer or play a favourite song to help with timing!
- Don't Forget Your Tongue: Gently brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
- Spit, Don't Rise: After brushing your teeth, spit out the toothpaste rather than rinsing it out with water to get the most benefit from your fluoride toothpaste and prevent dental decay.
What type of toothbrush should I use?
When choosing a toothbrush, adults should choose a small-to-medium toothbrush head with medium texture bristles. The head should be small enough to reach all areas of your mouth, especially the back of your mouth where cleaning can be difficult. Children need to use a smaller toothbrush head but with the same, medium texture bristles.
If you are finding it difficult to brush your tooth, there are different types of toothbrushes that can help you. If you have sensitive tooth, can use softer bristled brushes. There are also smaller headed toothbrushes for those people with crooked or crowded teeth. If you find it difficult to hold a normal toothbrush, there are toothbrushes with a larger handle or angled head make it easier to use. If you are not sure if your toothbrush is suitable, your dentist or dental hygienist can recommend a toothbrush.
Electric toothbrushes can also be effective and fun to use. If you use an electric toothpaste, it is important to note that electric and manual toothbrushes are used differently. Please follow the instructions our hygienist has given in the videos above to learn how to how to use manual and electric toothbrushes properly.
How often should I change my toothbrush?
Old, worn-out toothbrushes don't clean your teeth properly and they can damage your gums. It is important to change your toothbrush every two to three months, or sooner if the bristles become worn. You know it's time to change your toothbrush when the bristles become splayed and frayed.
What type of toothpaste should I use?
When choosing toothpaste, select one with 1,350 to 1,500 ppm fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. The fluoride concentration (ppm) can be found on your toothpaste packaging. Nearly all widely available adult toothpastes contain 1,350 to 1,500 ppm fluoride so they should be easy to find!
Sometimes your dentist will prescribe you toothpaste with a higher fluoride concentration. Always use the toothpaste prescribed by your dentist to reduce your risk of caries.
After brushing your teeth, spit out the toothpaste rather than rinsing with water, to avoid diluting the fluoride concentration, and ensure that you can the most benefit.
Additional tips for optimal tooth brushing
Consider these tips to enhance your tooth brushing routine:
- Technique Matters: Focus on quality, not just quantity. Brushing properly for two minutes is more effective than five minutes of incorrect brushing.
- Gentle is Key: Brushing too hard can damage your tooth enamel and gums. Apply gentle pressure and let the bristles do the work.
- Don't Share Toothbrushes: Sharing toothbrushes can spread bacteria and increase the risk of oral infections. Stick to using your own toothbrush.
- Brushing Alone Isn't Enough: Remember to clean between your teeth daily and rinse with mouthwash to remove plaque and debris from between your teeth and along the gumline.
Congratulations! You are now equipped with the knowledge to maintain excellent oral hygiene through proper tooth brushing. By following these tips, brushing your teeth becomes a fun and effective routine that keeps your smile bright and healthy. Don't forget to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings. Happy brushing!