Are You Brushing Your Teeth Right?
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Start with outer and inner surfaces of the teeth and brush at 45-degrees in short, half-tooth-wide strokes away from the gum line. Hold brush flat on chewing surfaces and brush back and forth. For inside surfaces of your front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and use gentle up-and-down strokes with the tip of the brush. Avoid rigorous brushing that wears down enamel.
Brushing is an important part of our daily oral hygiene routine. Not only does brushing help in getting whiter teeth and fresher breath, it also has a number of other benefits.1
What Are The Benefits Of Brushing Your Teeth Regularly?
1. Plaque-Free Teeth
- Brushing helps remove food and plaque, from the large surfaces of the teeth and from under the gums.2
- Most problems in the mouth are caused by plaque, which is a sticky layer of bacteria (formed when leftover food mixes with saliva and coats on your teeth).
- Plaque that is not removed can harden into tartar. Brushing is more difficult when tartar collects above the gum line. As a result, the irritated gum tissue may swell or bleed. This is called gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal (gum) disease.
2. Minimal Risk Of Infections
- The bacteria in your mouth can cause infections of the heart, lungs, or even the brain. In some cases, these infections can be fatal. These bacteria have also been linked to other health problems, such as heart attacks and strokes.
- Brushing reduces the number of bacteria in your mouth, and removes the sugars that are food for the bacteria. Thus, reducing the possibility of bacteria multiplying to dangerous levels.
3. Safeguards From Developing Certain Health Conditions
- Poor gum health has also been linked to a number of other general health problems, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes. Brushing may reduce your chances of developing these conditions.
4. Brushing Your Teeth Regularly Saves Money
- When you care for your teeth properly, you are less likely to need dental-work down the road, such as having a cavity filled or having treatments for periodontal disease.
What Type Of Toothbrush Is Best For You?
An ideal toothbrush should fit comfortably in your mouth, and should be easy to hold and manipulate.3However, you can follow certain guidelines while selecting a toothbrush:
1. Toothbrush For Adults
- Adults should choose a small to medium-sized brush head. This should have soft to medium, multi-tufted, round-ended nylon bristles or ‘filaments’.
- The head should be small enough to reach into all parts of the mouth, especially the back of the mouth; where it can be difficult to reach.
- You can also use more specialized toothbrushes. For instance, people with sensitive teeth can use softer-bristled brushes, while people with crooked or irregular teeth can use smaller-headed toothbrushes.
2. Toothbrush For Children
- Kids toothbrushes vary in size and shape, depending on their need and ability.
- Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles, that is made of a round-ended or “polished” material. These types of brush heads, clean kids’ teeth well and are not rough on their gums.
3. Toothbrush For Toddlers
- A toddler’s toothbrush has a small head and large handle with soft grip, that are easy for small hands to hold.
- Powered toothbrushes are also available for this age group and older children, which can be engaging and fun for them to use.
Why Is Tooth Paste Necessary?
- Toothpaste, also called dentifrice, is essential for your daily oral hygiene routine.
- Toothpastes are pastes, gels or powders that help remove plaque.
- It improves the mechanical brushing and cleaning power of a toothbrush.
- Most toothpaste contains fluoride and topical fluoride treatments within the permissible range, that helps to keep the tooth enamel hard and cavity-resistant.
Natural Toothpaste Alternatives:
- Sea Salt: Just dab your toothbrush in sea salt and brush away as usual, or you can also dissolve the salt in water first and then dip your brush in the saltwater before brushing.
- Baking Soda: This is one of the most popular natural toothpaste alternatives. Just dip your toothbrush in baking soda and brush like normal; or you can dissolve it in water first and use the brine for brushing.
- Hydrogen Peroxide: It is known for keeping teeth clean and white, and many people use it instead of toothpaste.
- Tooth Soap And Herbal Tooth Powders: There are many specially designed tooth soaps and herbal tooth powders available, that can be used as natural toothpaste alternatives.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil can be used alone and combined with other ingredients as well, like baking soda and essential oils.
- Oil Pulling: You have to swish about one tablespoon of oil (like coconut oil) for several minutes. Then brush with plain water or use one of the methods listed above.
What Is The Right Way To Brush?
Learning how to brush your teeth properly, is the first step to maintaining good oral hygiene, healthy teeth and gums. It helps to minimize the risk of tooth decay and gum problems. You can follow the steps as given below:
- Step 1: It is important to position the toothbrush right, in order to brush your teeth properly. Start with outer and inner surfaces, and brush at a 45-degree angle in short, half-tooth-wide strokes away from the gum line. Make sure you reach your back teeth.
- Step 2: Move on to chewing surfaces. Hold the brush flat and brush back and forth along these surfaces.
- Step 3: Once you get to the inside surfaces of your front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and use gentle up-and-down strokes with the tip of the brush.
- Step 4: Be sure to brush your teeth gently along the gum line.
- Step 5: Brush your teeth in a back-to-front sweeping motion to remove food particles and help remove odor-causing bacteria to freshen your breath.
The American Dental Association recommends, to brush twice a day for at least two minutes, to remove food particles and dental plaque that can damage teeth and gums over time.
What Problems Can Occur If You Brush Incorrectly?
Brushing regularly is considered vital for healthy teeth and gums, but dental experts warn that you should never overdo it because:
- Vigorous brushing can wear down the enamel on the teeth, as well as damage and push back the gums, exposing the sensitive root area. Receding gums can also lead to other dental problems, such as periodontal disease, cavities on the roots of the teeth and may lead to the need for treatments such as fillings, root canals and tooth extraction.
- Also brushing with a hard, sawing motion promotes unhealthy build up between your teeth and gums. Letting particles and plaque build up over time can cause serious problems. The proper method makes sure that each tooth gets the full advantage of your toothbrush bristles.
- While brushing your teeth, apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles against the gums. If you are squashing the bristles, you are brushing too hard.
Achieve Those Sparkly Whites
Although brushing your teeth is important, it is only a part of a complete dental-care routine. You should also make sure to clean between the teeth daily with floss. Tooth decay-causing bacteria still linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach.
This helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line. It is advisable to eat a balanced diet and limit in-between meal snacks. Make sure to visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.
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Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.