Brushing teeth is considered one of life’s more mundane activities. Your Muncie, IN dentist will quickly remind you, however, that it is in fact one of the most important things you do every day. According to a survey conducted by Delta Dental, 70% of Americans brush their teeth twice a day, as is recommended by the American Dental Association. In spite of this, many people are not aware that they are brushing their teeth incorrectly. Failing to use proper technique and follow specific guidelines can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. If you want to up your tooth brushing game, follow these 3 basic principles.
Brush Your Teeth Longer
The same Delta Dental survey found that, on average, most people brush their teeth less than the recommended two minutes twice a day. The reason two minutes is the recommended time is because it corresponds to 30 seconds per quadrant. Even if you brush for at least two minutes, you may not be giving each part of your mouth adequate time. By concentrating on devoting 30 seconds to each quadrant, you not only brush long enough, but you are brushing each part of your mouth long enough, too.
Loosen Your Grip
It’s natural to think that when it comes to cleaning anything—your teeth included—that scrubbing hard is the way to go. Not only is this not true in terms of tooth brushing, using too much force can actually damage your teeth and gums. The proper way to brush is by using gentle, small circular motions that cover each surface of your tooth and gum line. This type of motion is less abrasive to enamel and delicate gum tissue. In truth, you really don’t need much force beyond what it takes to make the bristles contact your teeth.
Use the Right Brush, and Change it Often
Although your local grocery or drug store carries tooth brushes with hard, medium, and soft bristles, the only one you should be using is the soft-bristled variety. This is essentially a universal recommendation by all dental organizations. Much like scrubbing too hard can damage your teeth and gums; hard bristles can do the same. Soft bristles are more gentle and pliable, allowing them to adapt to the contour of your teeth while sparing any potentially damaging forces. Finally, it is essential to change your toothbrush at least every 6 months. Think about it—your toothbrush is probably one of the most bacteria-laden items in your home. In order to prevent the introduction of harmful bacteria in your mouth, it is essential to use a new one every 6 months, if not sooner.
By employing these simple principles, you can save your teeth from unintended damage and get a head start on preventing a host of dental problems.