In our New York dentist office, we treat both children and adults. One common question people ask is how long they should brush their teeth. Granted, most people know about the two-minute rule but that is only half of the story. If you brush your teeth for two minutes but have the wrong equipment, your teeth are probably still dirty.
Most people don’t particularly enjoy brushing their teeth. We get it. Eating food and drinking is certainly more fun than cleaning your teeth afterwards. The problem is that if you don’t brush your teeth, the sugar that is left on them can lead to cavities and gum disease. Taking the time to brush and brush correctly is far better than making the time to deal with an oral infection.
Here is what you can do to make sure that your teeth brushing time is as effective as possible.
- Buy a new toothbrush. In our New Yorkdentist office, we give patients toothbrushes when they get their teeth cleaned. You need to buy a new one at least every three months. Otherwise, your brush will start to fray and can stink. A bad smelling brush is a sign of bacteria, and if you brush with it, that bacteria is going into your mouth – yuck! If yours smells or looks stained, replace it right away.
- Go soft. Many people make the mistake of buying a hard toothbrush and thinking that it will give a better clean. In reality, you can get just as good of a clean with a soft toothbrush and it is better for your teeth and gums. A hard brush can start to strip away the enamel that is on your teeth in order to protect them. Once the enamel is gone, your teeth need to be sealed in order to prevent them from hurting when you eat or drink. Don’t take the risk and go buy a soft toothbrush.
- Brush in circles. How you brush matters. We can demonstrate the proper technique in our New York dentist office. In the meantime brush in a circular pattern instead of a straight line from the back to front. This will help to remove more plaque.
- Stay away from the gums. You need to keep plaque and food particles away from your gums. They are sensitive and if bacteria become trapped you could get gum disease. When you brush, start at your gums and work towards the center of your mouth so that they can stay clean and healthy.
- Use a good toothpaste. When brushing your teeth, use toothpaste that is approved by the ADA and has fluoride in it. The fluoride will actually help to prevent cavities, and while it may not be as glamorous as a whitening paste, your teeth will be healthier for it.
If you hate brushing your teeth throughout the day, carry a small bottle of antiseptic mouthwash and use it after eating or drinking. Your breath will smell better so your coworkers will be happy, and your teeth will stay healthier too!