Brushing teeth has always been a vital part of the human experience, dating all the way back to 3500 B.C. However, today, we do not have to deal with ancient chew sticks, tree twigs, bird feathers, animal bones or porcupine quills to clean our teeth. Instead, thanks to the evolution of dental hygiene products, current toothbrushes range from soft, medium and hard bristles (soft is best) to electric, spin and hybrid brushes. And always remember to use an American Dental Association toothbrush, identified by the ADA seal of approval.
But, the most important fact of all is to brush, and to brush often, using the proper technique. Only by using the proper technique will your toothbrushing be effective enough to remove food particles and plaque, which are the two main contributors to tooth decay.
A proper toothbrushing regimen includes:
brushing teeth twice a day, preferably in the morning and at night
flossing your teeth first, then
using a fluoride toothpaste
brushing your teeth for at least two minutes
using the correct toothbrush for your teeth and gums as identified by your dentist
brushing gently to not disturb your gums
brushing the outer tooth surfaces of two to three teeth at a time, using a back and forth motion, then moving your toothbrush to the next group of two to three teeth and repeating the process
maintaining a 45-degree angle with your toothbrush bristles, contacting both the tooth surface and gum line, gently using back, forth, and rolling (or sweeping) motions along all the inner tooth surfaces
tilting your toothbrush vertically behind the front teeth. making several up and down strokes using the front half of your toothbrush
placing your toothbrush against the biting surface of your teeth, then, using a gentle back and forth scrubbing motion. brushing your tongue, from back to front, to remove any odor-producing bacteria
thoroughly rinsing your toothbrush, after each teeth cleaning, and then storing your toothbrush upright and uncovered, so your toothbrush can dry out before its next use
remembering to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. Thousands of microbes grow on your toothbrush bristles and handle. These microbes can cause cold and flu viruses, as well as the herpes virus that causes cold sores, plus generate bacteria that causes periodontal infections
Proper brushing is your number one proactive measure for preventing tooth decay. Do yourself a favor and make toothbrushing an important part of your day. Your teeth will thank you.