Most people, it’s safe to assume, brush their teeth once, maybe twice a day. After breakfast, perhaps. Again before bed. Maybe in between. For years, this has been considered fine: brush your teeth a few times a day and enjoy peak oral health for a lifetime.
The truth is, brushing your teeth isn’t complex, but it’s not as simple as you may have been led to believe. Even the most thorough among us may be able to optimize their brushing routine (and in so doing their oral health) by giving a little bit more attention to this first line of defense against tooth decay, root canal infections and gum disease.
How to (Really) Brush Your Teeth
First things first, you need a good toothbrush to effectively clean your teeth. We strongly recommend the Diamond Clean Sonicare.
Sonicare smart brushes deliver up to 62,000 brush movements per minute, giving you the equivalent results of a whole month’s worth of manual brushing in just two minutes! To us this is the most effective and yet gentle clean you can get.
Besides a good toothbrush, it is also important that your toothpaste contain fluoride – a mineral essential for keeping enamel strong. The Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, the American Public Health Organization, the American Dental Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics encourage its use in both toothpaste and water.
With your fluoride toothpaste and electric toothbrush, you’re ready to get started. Here’s what you do:
- Starting with the outer surface of the teeth, brush side-to-side, making sure to hit all areas. If your toothbrush is manual, hold it at a 45-degree angle. Moving from outer surfaces to biting surfaces and finally to the back of the teeth.
- Brush after every meal and snack for at least two minutes. If you have eaten something acidic or sweet, wait for 30 minutes before brushing to allow enamel to recover. Drinking water during this time can help flush bacteria and acid from the surface of teeth.
- Floss before you brush every morning and night. It used to be assumed that flossing was equally effective both before and after brushing, but new evidence suggests the optimal sequence is flossing first and brushing after. And if you’re finishing off with a mouthwash, wait for half an hour after flossing and brushing. This allows the fluoride from your toothpaste to do its job before being rinsed away.
Even if you have the most impressive at home routine, it cannot help but benefit from professional care. Many oral health issues can occur quickly – even in healthy individuals – making biannual visits an important part of your overall healthcare routine.
Remember, issues like gum disease can increase risks for serious health problems including heart attack, kidney failure, pancreatic cancer, and dementia. The better care you take of your teeth, the lower your risk of these potentially deadly conditions.
To schedule your next appointment at Dr. Bell’s office, please call 512-327-7750 today. During this visit, we can discuss ways for you to optimize your daily routine and answer any questions you have about the best and most effective ways to brush your teeth.