One of the first things you should do is to make sure that you have a good quality toothbrush. It can be a manual toothbrush or an electric one. Your toothbrush should have a soft bristle because if you use a brush with harder bristles and you use the wrong brushing technique, you risk damaging the delicate tooth enamel and gum tissues.
Always use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride strengthens your tooth enamel and fights against tooth decay.
You should stand in front of a mirror while you are brushing your teeth. This way, you can see where your toothbrush is actually brushing. The area around the gum line is important for this is where bacteria, plaque and tartar can build up. This build up can lead to gum disease.
When you brush with a manual toothbrush, hold the brush at a 45-degree angle. Brush your teeth in a circular motion, reaching the gum lines of your upper and lower sets of teeth. A common mistake that people make is that they use a back and forth motion to brush their teeth. Avoid this technique because you can harm the tissues of your gums. This can cause your gum lines to recede, which increases the risk of tooth and gum problems.
When you brush, visualize dividing your mouth into four quadrants: upper-right, upper-left, lower-right, and lower-left. Brush each quadrant for 30 seconds. In total, you should be brushing your teeth for two minutes.
If you are using an electric toothbrush, follow the manufacturer’s direction for its proper usage. The motor moves the brush head continuously, so the circular technique that you use with a manual toothbrush is not as critical. However, you should still hold your toothbrush in a 45-degree angle. Keep your toothbrush moving in each quadrant of your mouth, brushing each for 30 seconds.
Some advanced electric toothbrush models have a built-in timer for each 2-minute cycle. The timer gives you a signal so that you after 30 seconds, you are reminded to move on to the next quadrant. After 2-minutes, the brush motor stops. If your toothbrush does not have a built-in timer, have on hand an egg timer or a clock with a second-hand so you can monitor your brushing time.
Your toothbrush or brush head should be replaced every three months. Bacteria can accumulate on old brushes and cause gum infections. Plus, when you see the bristles starting to look like a broom, the brush will not be as effective.
After you brush, rinse your mouth with fluoridated water. Do not forget to floss your teeth because that is the final task in your daily oral hygiene regimen.
In addition to daily brushing and flossing, you should see your dentist every six months for a dental check-up and professional cleaning. Your dentist can examine your teeth for any potential problems before they become more serious. Serious problems are more painful and more expensive to treat. When you brush and floss daily and see your dentist regularly, you will keep your teeth healthy and beautiful.