Good brushing habits & tips can be found readily online but with so many blogs and infographics out there we figured we would make a simple everyday guide for maintaining healthy teeth and gums that can be easily followed.
1) Brushing twice a day & brushing at the right time
If we could give you one single best piece of advice it would be this, maintaining the habit of brushing twice a day for 2 minutes + is absolutely essential for great oral health.
In terms of timing you need to be careful too. If you brush immediately after eating or drinking then you can risk damaging your teeth especially if you have consumed something acidic as you may brush the acids further into your tooth enamel (for more info check out this nytimes blog). It is recommended to wait at least 30 minutes before brushing.
2) Brushing technique
The way you brush is also very important, forget about trying to scrub your teeth with a hard brush as this is more likely to damage your teeth and gums. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the following:
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
- Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
There’s even a video if you want to see a brushing demonstration
3) Using the correct type of brush and storing it correctly
The type of brush you use has a huge impact on the effectiveness of your cleaning. It is true that you can maintain strong oral health with a manual brush if you brush correctly but as Jefferson Dental Clinics state, electric toothbrushes offer easier, better cleaning and often come with timers to ensure you brush for two minutes. As well electric brushes maintain consistent vibrations which makes for an even clean throughout your mouth
Smart Oral Care
The toothbrush industry has been changing in recent years and our connected Kolibree toothbrush shows how smart devices and apps can be used to optimise and track brushing techniques (and works particularly well for kids)
Whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush we recommend having a soft-bristled brush head to prevent damage to gums & tooth enamel associated with hard bristles.
Just quickly, when you finish using your brush it’s important to rinse it properly and store right to allow the water to run off it. It’s also recommended to make sure your brush doesn’t rest against somebody else’s and should be kept a few metres from your toilets to avoid germs spreading.
4) Cleaning your tongue
We want to mention brushing your tongue as for some people it can prevent bad breath, not everyone needs to do this however. You can clean by simply brushing with your regular brush (brush from the back of your tongue to the front) but for those who need to pay special attention there are also specially designed tongue scrapers.
To compliment using the right type of brush & technique you need to ensure you are using the right type of toothpaste for you and your family. Toothpaste types vary according to the needs of the users and the ingredients (as you’ll see for flossing & mouthwash) and range from Whitening to Hypersensitivity prevention to Natural although you will also find a number of products that are all in one (see Dentalhealth.ie for more information). It is recommended to see if the benefits of any particular toothpaste are clinically proven and don’t hesitate to get your dentist’s opinion
The different types of toothpaste are readily available and easy found across the counter. Ultimately whichever toothpaste you decide to use you should follow the usage instructions given such as smaller amounts for children.
To compliment your brushing you should be flossing as it helps remove food and plaque from the places it’s hard to brush. When it comes to flossing it’s recommended by the ADA to try to floss at least once a day, whether you do it before or after brushing doesn’t actually matter as long as you remember to do it!
There are recommended methods to floss as seen on askthedentist.com and there are several different types flossing products available such as picks, small brushes and classic dental floss (have a look on Amazon to get an idea).
Whether you need to use mouthwash can be advised by your dentist and there are different types depending on your needs, whether that is to freshen your breath, reduce plaque, prevent decay etc, the ingredients will also be based around your needs as well, for example one with fluoride may be better for tooth decay prevention and strengthening enamel.
You will find that many mouthwashes will come with an ADA seal of approval which means the brand has been independently evaluated to ensure the product is safe and effective (Mouthrinses Guidelines). As well we would recommend always reading the guidelines written on the bottle as it will advise if the product is suitable for the whole family and best use.
If you do choose / are recommended to rinse then Southeast Family dental say that you should do it before brushing and flossing, “swish it around your mouth”, Gargle for 45 seconds and never rinse afterwards.
8) Chewing gum
Using chewing gum isn’t a substitute for brushing teeth but according to the ADA can help “neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down” and proofs especially useful at times during the day when you’re out of the house.
The best time to chew is the 20 minutes immediately after eating or snacking as this will give enough time for the additional saliva that gum helps produce to neutralize the plaque acids.
Similarly to mouthwash you will find brands that have received the ADA approval and these will all be sugar-free gums.
So now we’ve gone into the detail, we thought we would make a daily checklist for you so you don’t miss anything:
- Brush Twice a day for at least 2 minutes
- Floss at least once a day when brushing
- Use mouthwash if recommended before brushing & flossing
- Clean & store your Brush properly
- Option: Chew gums for 20mins after meals & snacks
- Ensure you use toothpaste, floss and mouthwash suited to you and your family
So that’s our day to day smart oral care tips, what do you think, leave us a comment below? Of course the food and drink you consume has a huge affect on your oral health as well but we’ll cover that further in a dedicated article. Happy Brushing!