The Benefits of Brushing Your Teeth
Most people do not give much thought to the way you brush your teeth, beyond squeezing on some toothpaste and scrubbing from side to side. However, how you brush your teeth, how frequently you brush, how many minutes you brush for, and the toothbrush you select combined make all the difference to maintain healthy oral hygiene. To achieve the greatest benefits from brushing, you should brush for two minutes in the morning and at night, using a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles.
Brushing your teeth removes any soft debris around your gums which includes plaque and food. If the food is left around your teeth, it will lead to bacteria using this as a food source to break down the out layer of your tooth resulting in decay and also can lead to gum disease. That is why it is important to brush twice a day to limit this food supply to the bacteria in your mouth.
It’s all in the technique
Using a systematic technique, this will give you the best chance for optimum oral hygiene. By starting at the back of your mouth being either upper or lower with the toothbrush bristle at the gum line on a 45° angle, using a circular motion brushing gently. If you scrub too hard from side to side, you risk causing your gums to recede, as well as damaging your enamel. By gripping your toothbrush handle with a pen grip, it limits your ability to apply too much pressure which is what you want to achieve. Holding your toothbrush with a fist grip, you may be inclined to use your bicep to brush your teeth, thus applying too much pressure. You should take care not to miss any surface of your teeth, starting from the outside, then on top and finishing on the inside, brushing one tooth at a time.
Sometimes bad breathe also known as halitosis can come from the tongue. Where a build-up of debris can occur, so it is a good idea to also brush your tongue to reduce bacteria in your mouth and in turn providing a healthier environment and limiting bad breathe. You should use the toothbrush bristles to gently scrape in a forward motion.
When you have completed brushing, spit out as much of the excess toothpaste and try not rinse with water. The residue toothpaste will give your teeth some extra continuing protection.
Below is a short clip which provides a demonstration to the technique described on the blog.
Tools of the trade
If you find it difficult using the above technique or getting to those hard to reach areas, you might consider using an electric toothbrush. The two main companies providing electric toothbrushes are Oral-B and Philips. They all come with an in-built two-minute timer and the expensive options come with pressure sensors to prevent you brushing too hard. If you need a slightly softer touch, the Philips Sonic Care is the electric toothbrush for you.
You should be changing your toothbrush every 3 months or sooner if the bristles split.
Finally here is a video guide to support you to brush your teeth.
Dr Matthew Salameh
Haberfield Dental Practice