You may be scoffing at us right now. You know how to brush your teeth. You’ve never even had a cavity!
However, even the most advanced brushers among us could do with a tune-up now and then. And just because you don’t have gum disease or cavities now, that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to never develop them in the future.
So swallow your pride and check out our guide below. You can thank us later!
Choosing the Best Brush
There are countless toothbrushes on the market today, so making the choice can be overwhelming.
However, it’s an easy choice once you know what to look for. The best type of brush has soft bristles and fits your mouth. So if you have a large mouth, choose a brush with a larger head.
Toothpaste selection can also be tricky. Make sure you select one that contains fluoride, and bonus points if it bears the ADA seal!
Don’t be an eager beaver! You need to wait 30 minutes after eating before you start brushing your teeth. This is because eating alters the pH levels in your mouth. If you brush while your saliva is still in that acidic state, you risk abrading you enamel and causing damage.
What you can and should do while you wait is drink plenty of water. Staying well-hydrated will help encourage new saliva to form that will help rinse off your teeth.
Another important timing factor is the amount of time you spend brushing. Spending at least two minutes is key: that time will allow your teeth to absorb the fluoride in the paste. After you brush, make sure you wait at least 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything, since that will disrupt the fluoride’s absorption as well.
Step 1: Begin by turning your toothbrush to a 45-degree angle. Use short strokes to brush along your gums on your inner and outer teeth. Make sure to reach all the way to the back—those molars need some love too!
Step 2: Now it’s time to brush your chewing surfaces. For this, you want to use your brush straight on your teeth using short strokes.
Step 3: Tilt the brush vertically to brush the backs of your teeth. Up and down strokes this time!
Step 4: Give your tongue a scrub in a back-to-front motion.
Step 5: Don’t rinse with water; that will get rid of the fluoride that is sinking into your teeth, strengthening and protecting them. If you must get the sudsy paste off your chompers, we don’t blame you. Try rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash instead.
Mix it Up!
Mentally divide your teeth into quadrants:
- Top Right
- Top Left
- Bottom Left
- Bottom Right
Over the years, you’ve probably built up a habit of brushing these sections in the same order. It’s time to break the habit and start varying which region you hit first.
As we begin brushing, our technique gets sloppier over time. By changing up which section you brush first, you can make sure you don’t neglect the same portion of your mouth every time you brush.
Don’t Stop at Brushing
While following this guide gives you a solid foundation on the basics of tooth brushing, we didn’t scratch the surface on other important aspects of oral health.
Flossing every day and seeing your dentist twice a year is also crucial, so be sure to keep that up as well!