We all learned how to brush as toddlers, right? Then why do most people miss plaque? In reality, we live busy lives. We brush once, hopefully twice a day and if our mouth tastes minty we assume we’re clean. Here’s what you could be missing:
Current tooth brushing info and recommendations:
Brush in the morning, after meals, and before bed.
Brush with the softest bristles you can find. Medium and Hard bristles abrade away enamel and gums causing grooves, dark tooth structure, recession of the gums, sensitivity, higher risk of decay, and the appearance of long teeth.
Mechanical (battery-operated or plug-in) toothbrushes clean better because they provide more bristle movement.
DO NOT scrub side-to-side. This causes horizontal grooves in teeth which lead to sensitivity, recession of gums, and exposure of softer, more vulnerable parts of your teeth. Instead of scrubbing side-to-side, gently brush in circles, aiming the bristles toward the gumline and cleaning the gumline, too.
Because soft tissue acts as a reservoir for bacteria and odor, remember to brush tongue and cheeks. Better yet, clean the tongue with a tongue cleaner. In my office, we give patients the Discus Dental brand tongue cleaner. Made of flexible plastic with two sides of gentle serrations, this tongue cleaner will remove an unbelievable amount of plaque (full of bacteria!) and odor even after brushing your tongue. I always recommend regular cleaning of soft tissues when patients complain of chronic halitosis (bad breath).
After brushing, rinse and dry bristles before storing.
Two minutes is the recommended amount of time to brush your teeth. Remember to brush the tongue side, cheek side, and chewing surfaces of every tooth.