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Do’s and Don’ts of Brushing Your Teeth

Prepare With The Right Tools

Before you are getting ready to brush your teeth, the first step is making sure you have all the proper tools for a good brushing. For starters, you will need a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash.

But knowing what kind of toothbrush and toothpaste to use makes your tooth brushing routine from good — to great. Let’s review the dos and don’ts of brushing your teeth to ensure you are keeping your mouth and body healthy and clean.

The Do’s

1. Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day for Two Minutes Each Time

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth two times a day for two minutes each time. This is the best way to remove any plaque and bacteria that may build up throughout the day. If left in your mouth, bacteria will lead to tooth decay and the weakening of your gums. It also helps keep your breath smelling minty fresh!

2. Replace Your Toothbrush

If you are using a standard plastic toothbrush, you should replace it every three to four months. Those who prefer to use electric-powered toothbrushes should replace only the head of the toothbrush within the same time frame.

Replacing your toothbrush or toothbrush head prevents it from becoming overused, which causes its bristles to fray while also losing efficacy. Frayed bristles can be damaging to your tooth enamel and also be more abrasive to your gums.

Another critical time to change your toothbrush is after having an illness like a cold or the flu. Lingering germs and bacteria can hide in the bristles and lead to reinfection. By replacing your toothbrush, you are also eliminating any additional exposure to foreign organisms that are bad for your oral health.

3. Brush at an Angle

It is officially time to brush your teeth. Start by running the brush under the water and adding a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. When you put your toothbrush in your mouth, insert it at a 45-degree angle. Use gentle, short, circular strokes to brush your front teeth.

Continue by brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth. Don’t forget to reach your back molars and other chewing surfaces! Then, you will brush the inside surfaces of your teeth.

Once your two minutes are up, spit out the remnants of toothpaste, saliva, and water. Finish by rinsing with water.

The Don’ts

1. Don’t Forget to Brush Your Tongue

Brushing your tongue is often overlooked as part of the teeth brushing process. However, your tongue is covered with bacteria!

The buildup on your tongue is more than just saliva. It is actually made up of microorganisms that stick together on the surface of the tongue. These bacteria are often the root cause of bad breath and sometimes even tooth decay.

Unfortunately, just rinsing isn’t enough. In order to physically remove the bacteria, you must clean your tongue by brushing it. Experts recommend brushing your tongue every time you brush your teeth. Brush your tongue back and forth and side to side to ensure you get a good cleaning.

If you don’t prefer to use your toothbrush, you can purchase a tongue scraper.

2. Don’t Forget to Floss

As dentists, we know that most people do not like to floss. However, it is a crucial oral hygiene habit. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing at least once per day, depending on what works best for your schedule. There is no rule as to whether or not you should floss before or after brushing your teeth, as long as you do it properly.

The benefit of flossing is to release any food and plaque stuck between your teeth. Start by placing the floss in between two teeth. Gently glide the floss up and down both sides of each tooth. Once the floss reaches your gums, curve the floss at the base of the tooth. If done incorrectly, flossing can be harmful to your gums and teeth.

3. Don’t Choose the Wrong Toothpaste

All kinds of toothpaste are designed to clean your teeth. But some are more effective than others. When choosing toothpaste, the most vital thing to look for is the ADA seal of approval. We also recommend finding a toothpaste with fluoride because fluoride helps fight cavities. If you have sensitive teeth, you may want to find a toothpaste designed to soothe your symptoms.

Create a Healthy Smile

Whether you need an oral exam or tooth extraction, our team of dental professionals at Access Dental can help you create and maintain a healthy smile. Call us today at (973) 358-6266 to schedule an appointment.