Brushing Your Way to a Healthy Smile

Great dental health begins with developing effective habits. Brushing your teeth twice daily is one of the most important of these habits. But simply brushing your teeth may not be having the intended effect if you are not using the proper technique. Without a good brushing technique, you may suffer from poor dental hygiene and problems down the road. The key is always to follow a consistent, good technique when brushing your teeth to ensure your smile has the best chance for good health.

First, be sure to brush for at least two minutes twice a day. Start in the back upper quadrant of your teeth, using short, circular strokes as you slowly work your way forward, and be gentle when brushing. There is no need to press hard or use excessive force. Ideally, you want to angle your toothbrush about 45 degrees toward your gum line and slowly roll the toothbrush downward as you proceed over each tooth. This pattern will help you clean debris from beneath your gumline and from the areas surrounding your gums. Move around your mouth in a clockwise direction, making sure to cover each quadrant of your teeth both in front and behind. Finish up by brushing your tongue to freshen your breath and to help remove any bacteria.

While brushing can be effective on its own, there are areas between your teeth that a toothbrush cannot clean. For these spaces, you will need to use an interdental tool such as floss. Be sure to floss every time you brush, making sure to get between your teeth thoroughly.

Toothbrush selection can also be a major factor in brushing. For best results, you want a toothbrush that is as comfortable to hold as it is to use. Electric toothbrushes generally give a more thorough cleaning than manual brushing, but these brushes cost more and need adequate time to charge. Dentists recommend a toothbrush with a good reach and soft bristles, as they are less likely to result in gum abrasion. Make sure you replace your toothbrush every three months or as soon as the bristles are beginning to look frayed. Once a toothbrush begins to wear down, it no longer cleans as effectively.

Finally, be sure to visit your dentist at least twice a year for a professional cleaning, detailed examination, and any additional dental services you may need.