How to Brush Your Teeth Properly

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The recommended proper brushing method has changed somewhat over the past two or three decades. Adopting the correct tooth-brushing technique will help you promote healthy teeth. Regular brushing should be an important component of your daily dental care regimen.

How to Brush Your Teeth Correctly

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), these recommendations help you have a healthy mouth and a winning smile.

  • Brush twice a day using a soft-bristled brush.
  • Get a new toothbrush three or four times a year; even sooner if you have frayed bristles.
  • Always use an ADA-accepted toothpaste (with the ADA seal), ensuring that claims made by the brands are truthful.

ADA-accepted toothpastes are listed below:

Aim Cavity Protection
Aquafresh for Kids
Arm & Hammer Dental Care
Colgate Cavity Protection
Colgate Total
Colgate for Kids
Cool Wave Fresh Mint Gel
Crest Cavity Protection
Crest Pro-Health
Crest Kids SparkleFun (all varieties)
Freshmint Premium
Hello and Hello Kid’s
Tom’s of Maine (all varieties)

Proper Teeth Brushing Technique

Here is the ADA recommendation for the proper brushing techniques.

  • Position your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Healthy gums keep your teeth in your mouth, where they belong.
  • Gently move your brush back and forth over your teeth. The key word is “gently” with your soft bristle brush. Let your toothbrush and toothpaste do their jobs.
  • Brush the outer and inner surfaces of your teeth; then reposition your brush vertically, while making a few up-and-down strokes. A little up-and-down action after horizontal brushing will do wonders for your teeth.
  • Gently brush your tongue to get rid of bacteria and maintain your fresh breath. Your tongue often becomes a “bacteria magnet” and makes your breath nasty. Avoid this fate by brushing your tongue.
  • Floss daily to remove food residue between your teeth. Although there has been some recent controversy about the benefits of flossing, the ADA still recommends the benefits of removing food trapped between your teeth.
  • Eat balanced meals and restrict in-between snacks. Snacks can ravage your teeth; don’t let them do it. The more balanced your meals the healthier your teeth and gums.
  • See your dentist at least twice per year for cleanings and oral exams. Your dentist has the tools and expertise to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth to protect them from cavities.

How Long Should You Brush Your Teeth?

According to the ADA, you should brush your teeth for two minutes each time. There are some children’s toothbrushes that kids can press that emit a flashing light that lasts two minutes so they get comfortable with the recommended brushing time per the ADA. Adults need to time themselves.

How Many Times a Day Should You Brush Your Teeth?

The nation’s dentists recommend that you brush at least two times per day. As previously noted, these two brushings should last around two minutes each.

How to Brush Your Gums?

Most dentists recommend that you brush your gums lightly in small circles with bristles pointing upward at 45-degree angles for your top gums with bristles pointing downward for your bottom gums. If you have great gums, spend more brushing time on your teeth than your gums.

Some Benefits of Brushing Teeth Correctly

  • Healthy mouth and teeth.
  • Fewer cavities or other tooth problems.
  • Healthier gums.

These are but a few of the key benefits of brushing your teeth properly at least twice per day. The proper toothbrushing technique, as described above, is not hard to use. Get in the habit of doing it correctly.

Author; Dr Jeremy Rourke, B.D.S. Hons. Syd Univ. Dental Surgeon

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My name is Jeremy Rourke. I’m part of a family of dentists with my father, brother, cousin and nephew also being dentists. I won a University of Sydney Dental Alumni prize for being the top student in my year and graduated with Honours in 1971. I have been a Registered dentist for over 40 years. In that time I have created a few “firsts” in my efforts to stay ahead.

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