It’s probably been a very long time since anyone talked to you about the correct way to brush your teeth. If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve likely developed some bad habits over the years that have resulted in less than ideal brushing techniques. A refresher course in tooth brushing certainly won’t hurt. Following is the right way to brush teeth to maximize dental hygiene.
Start With a Sterile Brush
How many times have you used your toothbrush and then just laid it back on the bathroom sink or stuck it in a cup? Dozens of times? Many more times than that? The quality—and cleanliness—of your toothbrush is integral to your dental health. If you keep using the same brush again and again without sterilizing it, you’re just reintroducing bacteria into your mouth each time you brush. Consider replacing your brush at least once every two weeks. In between, you should be sterilizing your brush each night. Talk to your dentist about effective toothbrush sterilization methods.
Use Plenty of Toothpaste
Some people brush their teeth with just a tiny dot of toothpaste, while others try to emulate the amount demonstrated on television commercials. Somewhere in the middle is the correct amount. You want enough toothpaste to apply to each tooth, but not so much that it’s overwhelming. Finally, make sure you use fluoride toothpaste, as fluoride has been proven to help prevent cavities.
Brush Vertically, Not Horizontally
When you brush horizontally, you could simply be grinding food debris deeper into your gums. That’s not the direction you want to go. Instead, brush vertically, starting from the gum line and working your way upward. Focus on brushing each individual tooth in this fashion, angling the brush about 45 degrees so the bristles capture food debris and bring it up and away from the gums.
Don’t Forget the Insides
Although you get the most visible satisfaction from your pearly whites on the outside surface, you need to pay attention to the insides. Swing the handle of the toothbrush upward and brush each tooth, starting from the gum line and moving upward.
Finally, rinse thoroughly. This will help to ensure that all dislodged food debris is swept out of your mouth. For a practical lesson in person on teeth brushing techniques, talk to your dentist.