Brushing is the most effective method for removing harmful plaque from your teeth and gums. Regular cleaning stops the bacteria in the food you eat from producing harmful, cavity-causing acids.
Most dentists agree that people should brush three times a day, after every meal. If you use a fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before bed at night, you don’t need to use toothpaste in the middle of the day. A simple brushing with plain water will do the job. If you don’t have a brush with you, rinsing your mouth with water for 30 seconds after eating is better than nothing.
Everybody’s teeth are different, so there is no universal brushing technique that will work equally well for everyone. Your dentist can advise which brushing technique will work best for you, but here are a couple of tips to get you started.
You should place your toothbrush at a 45° angle and use a gentle circular motion to brush only two or three teeth at a time, gradually cleaning the inner, outer and top surfaces of each tooth. Clean between teeth as well, making sure that you gently remove any plaque growing just under the gum. Don’t use an up-and-down motion because this wears down your tooth structure. It can lead to receding gums and exposed roots.
Don’t forget that other surfaces of your mouth are covered in bacteria – the gums, roof and floor of your mouth and, most importantly, your tongue. Brushing your tongue not only removes trapped bacteria and other disease-causing germs, it also freshens your breath.
Remember to replace your toothbrush when the bristles start to spread. A worn toothbrush will not properly clean your teeth. Most people are advised to choose toothbrushes with small heads and soft, nylon bristles with round ends. Medium and hard bristles are not recommended. Your toothbrush should have a long, wide handle for a firm grip. While most people rush through teeth-cleaning in under a minute, effective brushing takes about three minutes. It is worth taking the extra two minutes to make sure the job is done properly!