OK, I’ve written this before and I’m re-posting this again today: It might sound silly to give out instructions for the proper method to brush you teeth, but there IS a correct way. The next time you see your dentist or hygienist – ask them! They’re the experts.
In the meantime, here’s how the American Dental Association sums it up:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily.
- Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
- Make sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
Here are the techniques:
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
- Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
Finally, it’s not just brushing:
- Clean between 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.
- Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks.
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.