Brushing teeth is something everybody does, hopefully, twice a day, but despite this activity being one of the most common daily rituals in a human’s life, so many people don’t get any benefit from this. This ritual started back in 3500 BC in ancient Babylon and Egypt. Brushing sticks have been found in the tombs of these ancient people. They knew the teeth accumulated plaque and bad breath was worse when the mouth was not cleaned…they just didn’t have access to the science and research we do today. We now know that the bacteria in our mouths is strong enough to decay the teeth and affect our overall health. That’s why doing it correctly has become a part of every dental visit to Cody Dental Group.
Having an expensive toothbrush and the latest line of toothpaste is all well and good, but to get the full benefit, you need to methodically and carefully brush your teeth twice a day. We brush our teeth twice a day because research shows us that the bacteria begins to reproduce and die twelve hours after brushing thus producing decaying gases and acid. So, here is a quick guide on how to brush your teeth.
Before You Get Started
It is always a good idea to ask your dentist or hygienist for their recommendations on brushing techniques and cleaning equipment. They will be able to make suggestions on how to clean hard to reach spots and how to combat any problem areas.
It is also vitally important that you have the right tools for the job, to ensure you get the best results from your brushing:
- A soft bristled toothbrush (which should be replaced every three to four months) – some people prefer manual, while others like an electric brush. Either way, the head needs to have a good range of motion and should be replaced once it starts to fray.
- Fluoride Toothpaste – the kind you will need will depend on the overall health of your teeth. Experience with our hygienists has shown us that the more glamourous the paste, ie. tartar control, whitening, sensitive, scope, etc., can have a lot of flavoring agents that “burn” the cheek tissues and cause tissue sluffing. So, be aware of this possibility and discontinue if the tissues burn or teeth get sensitive while using any product. There are a lot of options on the market, so check for recommendations from your dentist or the ADA (American Dental Association).
- Dental Floss or tape – the kind you need will depend on the spaces between your teeth,. Here is a simple guideline to follow: Tight teeth usually do better with a Waxed floss, but the most efficient floss on the market is an Unwaxed floss and the least effective floss is Satin. While there are not many studies to prove this fact, our Cody Periodontists have confirmed this fact based on experience. So, if you LOVE your Satin floss…be efficient with it!
- Waterpiks are valuable around implants, and is the recommended therapy for those areas. It is also very good at removing food debris throughout the mouth…BUT IT DOES NOT REMOVE PLAQUE. It must be used as a complimentary tool to the toothbrush and floss.
- Toothpicks and Proxybrushes are excellent at removing plaque between teeth, especially when recession of the gum tissue is present.
Ready to Go
Everybody has different preferences about the type of brush and toothpaste they use, but the truth is that the quality of the brushing is more important. The golden rule when it comes to teeth brushing is two times a day for two minutes.
Start your two-minute ritual by setting a timer, and then you get to work on doing a thorough job. Remember the goal is to brush the gumlines effectively. Not on top of the tissues, but at the margin
The first step is to hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line, and then start moving the brush back and forth gently, with small circular strokes. Don’t brush too hard because this will irritate the gums.
Many people brush in straight lines, which is incorrect. You should brush circularly, making sure that you go over the front, back and top surfaces of the teeth. Spend an equal amount of time on each part of the mouth, and don’t forget the back molars and the areas in-between the teeth.
The gaps between the teeth are breeding grounds for bacteria, so make sure you floss, as a brush might not clear all the food debris and other buildups that accumulate during the day.
Is There Anything Else I Should Do?
A healthy and well-balanced diet is always beneficial for your teeth. Avoid a diet high in sugars and carbohydrates, as these foods encourage the growth of bacteria in the mouth, a major cause of tooth decay.
You should also visit your favorite Cody dentist twice a year for a checkup and a scale and polish. Following all these steps should keep your smile looking good and keep tooth decay at bay.