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brushing your teeth

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Daily brushing and cleaning between your teeth are important because it removes plaque. If the plaque isn’t removed, it builds up and can cause tooth decay and gum disease. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and toothbrushes should be replaced every 3-4 months, or when the bristles get worn or frayed.

The five steps below show you how to brush your teeth correctly.

  • Aim the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards the gum line.
  •  Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  •  Use a gentle circular motion.
  •  Repeat on the inside surfaces.
  •  Use a light back and forth motion on the chewing surfaces.
  •  Spit out the toothpaste after brushing.
  • You do not need to rinse, as the small amount of fluoridated toothpaste left in your mouth after spitting continues to protect against tooth decay.

When should I brush my teeth?

Brush your teeth for about 2 minutes last thing at night before you go to bed and on 1 other occasion every day.

Your dentist or hygienist may give you more advice based on your own dental health and needs.

What should I look for in a toothbrush?

For most adults, a toothbrush with a small head and a compact, angled arrangement of long and short round-end bristles is fine. Medium or soft bristles are best for most people.

If you’re using an electric brush, one with an oscillating or rotating head may work better than a manual toothbrush.

But making sure you thoroughly clean your teeth at least twice a day is more important than the type of brush you use. If in doubt, ask your dentist.

Should I use an electric or manual toothbrush?

It doesn’t matter whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush.

They’re both equally good, as long as you brush all the surfaces of all your teeth and you use fluoride toothpaste.

But some people find it easier to clean their teeth thoroughly with an electric toothbrush.

What type of toothpaste should I use?

It’s important to use a toothpaste with the right concentration of fluoride.

Check the packaging to find out how much fluoride each brand contains.

  • Adults should use a toothpaste that contains at least 1,350 parts per million (ppm) fluoride.
  • Children don’t need to use special children’s toothpaste. Children of all ages can use family toothpaste, as long as it contains 1,350 to 1,500ppm fluoride. Children aged 6 and under who don’t have tooth decay can use a lower-strength children’s toothpaste, but make sure it contains at least 1,000ppm fluoride. 
  • Children under the age of 3 should use just a smear of toothpaste. Children aged 3 to 6 years should use a pea-sized blob of toothpaste. Make sure children don’t lick or eat toothpaste from the tube.

Your dentist may advise you or your child to use a toothpaste with a higher concentration of fluoride, if you need it.

Don’t rinse with water straight after toothbrushing

After brushing, spit out any excess toothpaste.

Don’t rinse your mouth immediately after brushing, as it’ll wash away the concentrated fluoride in the remaining toothpaste.

This dilutes it and reduces its preventative effects.

Should I use mouthwash?

Using a mouthwash that contains fluoride can help prevent tooth decay, but don’t use mouthwash (even a fluoride one) straight after brushing your teeth or it’ll wash away the concentrated fluoride in the toothpaste left on your teeth. 

Choose a different time to use mouthwash, such as after lunch.

Don’t eat or drink for 30 minutes after using a fluoride mouthwash.

How to use dental floss

Flossing isn’t just for dislodging food wedged between your teeth.

Regular flossing may also reduce gum disease and bad breath by removing plaque that forms along the gum line.

It’s best to floss before brushing your teeth.

  • Take 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45cm) of floss or dental tape and grasp it so you have a couple of inches of floss taut between your hands.
  • Slip the floss or dental tape between the teeth and into the area between your teeth and gums, as far as it’ll go.
  • Floss with 8 to 10 strokes, up and down between each tooth, to dislodge food and plaque.  

Tips to maintain good oral hygiene

  • Use fluoride toothpaste as it’s been proven to help prevent tooth decay.
  • Make it a daily habit to floss or use an inter-dental brush to remove bacteria and food debris in between teeth and under the gum line. These can accumulate to form plaque.
  • Avoid frequent snacking on food or drinks high in sugars or acid. Limit between-meal snacks to two a day.
  • Visit a dentist regularly so that dental problems can be detected and treated promptly.
  • Get your teeth professionally cleaned at regular intervals.

Resources:

healthxchange.sg

dhsv.org.au

nhs.uk

We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions, so get an appointment today.

Dr.Alolabi
Dr.Alolabi
Dr. Alolabi is a member of the American Association of Orthodontist, and the Texas Association of Orthodontist.

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