Your toothbrush is a crucial component in maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. You might think that is so apparent that it doesn’t need to be spoken, but you’d be amazed at how many simple mistakes people make when using their toothbrushes. We want to be certain that our patients are making the most of their greatest teeth-cleaning equipment!
1. Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly
Examine your toothbrush. Are the bristles twisted or frayed? Are any lacking? Perhaps it’s time to replace your toothbrush. Because old, worn-out bristles can’t clean teeth very well, the American Dental Association advises that we replace our toothbrushes at least three times a year.
2. Take Your Time When You Brush
Even though dentists all around the world advise people to brush for two full minutes, the typical time spent doing so is only approximately 45 seconds. Simply put, this isn’t lengthy enough to provide the desired cleaning results. Plaque and food particles are removed by repetitive motions, therefore we shouldn’t cut corners there. We want our patients to contribute to bringing the average closer to the suggested two minutes! One of the best methods to keep track of time is to play music or set a timer.
3. Brush Gently (and Use a Gentle Brush)
When we’re cleaning grout out of the tiles in the kitchen, it often requires a little elbow grease. We understand how some people might get the idea that it’s the same with teeth and gums, but that’s simply not true. Brushing hard or using a firm-bristled brush can actually result in gum recession over time. We recommend soft bristles and a gentle hand. Brushing harder does not mean brushing better!
4. Wait 30 Minutes After Eating Before Brushing
One of the most common mistakes people make with brushing is to do so immediately after a meal. This isn’t a great idea, because the acids in our food and drink temporarily weaken our tooth enamel. If we brush then, we can accidentally cause enamel erosion. That’s why waiting at least half an hour to brush is a good idea; it gives our saliva enough time to neutralize the acid and begin the remineralization process.
5. Store Your Toothbrush Properly
If your toothbrush carries a funky smell, it could be because you aren’t giving it a chance to fully dry between uses. To keep a toothbrush fresh and devoid of moisture-loving bacteria, we should always store our toothbrushes upright and give them enough air flow to dry out. No more toothbrush covers! (And also keep them as far from the toilet as possible.)
6. How’s Your Brushing Technique?
Even brushing twice a day for the full two minutes with a soft-bristled brush that you store correctly won’t be able to fully offset poor brushing technique. Keep in mind that the goal is to get plaque and food particles out of the gumline. Hold the brush at a 45° angle to your gums and gently sweep it in circular motions. Get each area of the mouth at least fifteen times, both on the outside and the tongue side, as well as the chewing surfaces.
Bring Us All Your Toothbrush Questions!
If you’d like any more tips about how to get the most out of your toothbrush, whether you’re looking for technique pointers or recommendations on the best toothbrush for you, we’re happy to help. And don’t forget to floss each day too!