It might seem silly to be an adult reading an article about how to properly brush your teeth, but as a dental hygienist, I can tell you that this lesson needs to be hammered home. Throughout my career, I have seen plenty of adult patients that do not brush their teeth properly, let alone enough. It’s my job to educate them on how to use a toothbrush effectively, why it’s important and the consequences of not doing so.
Now, you’ve probably heard this several times already, but brushing your teeth twice a day is extremely important. As we consume different foods throughout the day, particles become wedged between our teeth. Plaque also builds up on our teeth and along the gum line. When we brush our teeth, ideally with fluoride toothpaste, you can clear away plaque and the food that has collected on your teeth throughout the day. Not brushing your teeth, once in the morning and again at night, can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
An electric toothbrush is clinically proven to be seven times more effective at plaque removal than a manual toothbrush. But just because you have an electric toothbrush doesn’t mean you’re using it correctly.
Here are a few tips to get the most out of your electric toothbrush:
1. Getting started: Apply a small amount of fluoride toothpaste about the size of a small pea before switching the toothbrush on.
2. Positioning of the bristles: Place the toothbrush bristles against the teeth at a 45-degree angle towards the gum line. Often, we just brush the teeth, but it is important to include the gum line because this is where the plaque will sit. Glide the brush across your teeth and gums gently, allowing the brush to do all the work – do not scrub.
3. Holding your brush: Hold the handle gently with a light grip and only apply light pressure.
4. Brushing your tongue: Up to 80% of bad breath comes from odour producing bacteria that accumulate and hide deep within the porous surface of your tongue. You can use a tongue scraper or try the Philips TongueCare+ attachment head. Team that with the BreathRX spray to get long lasting fresh breath.
5. Frequency of use: Use your electric toothbrush once in the morning and again at night time for two minutes. Remember to change the brush head every three months.
6. Spit, don’t rinse. Spit the toothpaste out but try not to rinse your mouth after as you will wash away the beneficial ingredients in toothpaste, such as fluoride which helps to prevent dental decay.
That’s it! Now you are fully trained and ready to brush like a pro. Don’t forget to visit your dentist and hygienist at least once a year. They will be able to check your newly learnt skills and help tailor your oral hygiene routine.
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