Brushing your teeth seems simple enough. You are taught how to do it as a child and probably aren’t aware of how you even do it anymore. But if it really is so simple why is there so much discussion surrounding it? If you are unsure of how effective your dental routine is you can visit your dental hygienist who will be able to teach you the correct techniques and offer advice on how to improve. Good dental hygiene should be carried out daily and should be supported by regular visits to your dentist.
Step 1: How should you brush your teeth?
It is commonly agreed amongst dentists that you should brush your teeth twice a day. Over-brushing and brushing too hard can wear away your tooth enamel and gums and developing a bad brushing technique can be very damaging to your long term dental health.
Most dentists recommend the modified Bass technique which involves placing the head of the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the gum line and moving the brush in circular motions. It is recommended that your brush for 2 minutes and try not to start at the same place every time.
You should also make sure not to neglect the tongue and use a tongue scraper to get rid of the plaque that builds up there. Leaving bacteria in your mouth can lead to tooth decay and in the worst cases, gum disease.
Step 2: Flossing: your friend of foe?
Flossing should be done once a day, at night time, unless you are particularly susceptible to food getting stuck in your teeth in which case you may want to carry floss around with you. Some dentists believe it is beneficial to floss before brushing your teeth as flossing opens up the teeth allowing the fluoride from the toothpaste to seep into the gaps.
The saw technique is the best for flossing. It involves gently rocking the floss up and underneath your gums and back again without tearing them. Doing this helps to remove any food debris and bacteria.
Step 3: What kind of mouthwash should you use?
A standard mouthwash may wash away the beneficial ingredients in your toothpaste. Certain mouthwashes may be beneficial if you have gum disease. If you think you have gum disease please contact your dentist. It is also recommended that adults should only semi-rinse their mouths out with water so that they leave a film of fluoride on the teeth.
Step 4: should you adopt an electric toothbrush?
Research by the British Dental Health Foundation found that an electric toothbrush is more effective than a regular toothbrush at removing plaque from your mouth. If you do not want to use an electric toothbrush then it is important for you to use a soft or medium toothbrush with a small head so that you are able to get to the back of your mouth and do not damage your teeth.