Do you have an A+ in brushing? The chances are high that you could do an even better job at cleaning your smile if you adjusted your technique. Brushing your teeth effectively is an important habit that can takes years to perfect. In fact, a recent study by Sweetish Dental Journal found that nine in ten people aren’t brushing correctly. Brushing twice a day simply isn’t enough to stop decay if you don’t have the right technique for removing the plaque and food caught between and at the base of your teeth. Here at Windsor Family Dental, we are always happy to provide you with advice and tips for how you can be brushing better! Here are a few signature signs that you might want to come visit us for a crash course.
1. You floss after brushing: This common habit often gets overlooked, but can have an impact on your oral health. Waiting to floss your teeth until after you’ve brushed can take away some of the effectiveness of the fluoride in your toothpaste, which can’t reach spaces in your teeth that are blocked by plaque and food particles.
2. You brush with a death grip: While it may feel like brushing harder will make your teeth cleaner, this pesky habit can actually erode the enamel on your teeth and your soft gum tissue. You don’t need excessive pressure to clean your teeth effectively. Dr. Ingersoll and our staff recommend holding your toothbrush lightly between three or four fingers and guiding it at a 45 degree angle up and down along your gum line when cleaning the sides. This will remove any plaque at the base of your teeth while not causing any irritation or erosion.
3. Your bristles aren’t “soft”: When you go to pick out a new toothbrush, you will have the opportunity to choose from soft, medium, and hard nylon bristles. For the vast majority of people, a soft bristled brush will be the safest and most comfortably variety. Depending on how vigorously you brush and the hardness of your teeth, medium or hard bristles can actually damage your gum tissue and your tooth’s protective enamel. If you have deep ridges in your teeth or areas where your gum line has receded lower than normal, you may be using a tooth brush that’s too hard.
4. You’re using the wrong brush size: Not all mouths are the same size or shape. Some people have it easy with plenty of space between and around their teeth. Others have smaller mouths where it might be a little harder to clean hard-to-reach places. For this reason it’s essential that you are using a tooth brush with a head that’s the right size and shape for your mouth. If you look carefully when picking out a brush, you’ll notice that there is a great variety in the sizes, shapes and textures offered. Make sure that you are able to easily access all surfaces of your teeth with your brush.
5. You aren’t asking us for advice: Dr. Ingersoll and our staff here at Windsor Family Dental are highly savvy when it comes to brushing like a pro. Next time you come visit us, ask us to give you a quick lesson on how best to clean each of your teeth. We can provide you with expert angles, optimal brushing motions and maybe even a free tooth brush!