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Toothbrush Technique

Everyone knows about the importance of brushing, but most people still use a fairly haphazard technique! They usually start in the front and end somewhere in the back, brushing at random and often missing areas on the way. Establishing a pattern when you brush is extremely important for the daily removal of plaque. Flossing and regular visits to the dental office will complete the job.

When you’re brushing your teeth, it’s also important not to miss your gums. Adult’s in particular, need to concentrate on the sulcus or gum pockets as it’s here plaque accumulates and periodontal disease develops. Using a soft, round-tipped toothbrush, here are some helpful brushing tips:

It’s important not to rush your brush! A proper brushing should take at least two to three minutes to complete.

Always start at the same place in your mouth and brush from tooth to tooth. A good place to start is with the inside upper back teeth. Place your brush at a 45° angle so it’s half on the gum and half on the tooth. Gently vibrate the toothbrush bristles in a forward and backward motion, working some of the bristles under the gum. This movement allows you to clean the surfaces under the edge of the gum. Make sure not to scrub!

Once you’re done with the inside of the upper teeth, move to the outside. Start at the back and move to the front, again keeping the brush at a 45° angle.

After you’ve cleaned the inside and outside surfaces, move to the tops (biting surfaces) of your teeth. These are cleaned with a back and forth motion, keeping the toothbrush bristles directly on top of the teeth.

Don’t forget to brush the insides, outsides and tops of both you upper and lower teeth.

Smear a pea-sized amount of flouride toothpaste onto a small head,soft toothbrush. Use low flouride toothpaste (2-6 years of age) unless otherwise recommended by a dental professional.

Aim the toothbrush bristles at an angle towards the gumline.

Gently jiggle the brush and move it in small circles over the teerth and gums.

Repeat for inside surface of all teeth.

For Chewing Surfaces use a light back and forth motion. Children should be encouraged to spit out the toothpaste after brushing.

Soft or hard bristles?

In general, a toothbrush head should be small (1" by 1/2") for easy access. It should have a long, wide handle for a firm grasp and soft, nylon bristles with round ends. Some brushes are too abrasive and can wear down teeth. A soft, rounded, multi-tufted brush can clean teeth effectively. Press just firmly enough to reach the spaces between the teeth as well as the surface. Medium and hard bristles are not recommended.

For how long should I brush?

It might be a good idea to brush with the radio on, since dentists generally recommend brushing three to four minutes, the average length of a song. Using an egg timer is another way to measure your brushing time. Patients generally think they're brushing longer, but most spend less than a minute brushing.

To make sure you're doing a thorough job and not missing any spots, patients are advised to brush the full three to four minutes twice a day, instead of brushing quickly five or more times through the day.

Do electric toothbrushes work?

There are dozens of types of electric toothbrushes.  Some are designed with input form dental professionals and are backed by rigourous testing and research.  Others are poorly designed and can be harmful to your teeth and gums.

When the proper electric toothbrush is used, it has been shown that they are extremely effective at cleaning teeth and maintianing healthy gums - often even more effecticve than a manual toothbrush.  Ask us about the right electric toothbrush for you.

Should I brush at work?

Definitely, but most Americans don't brush during the workday. Yet a survey by Oral-B Laboratories and the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) shows if you keep a toothbrush at work, the chances you will brush during the day increase by 65 percent.

Getting the debris off teeth right away stops sugary snacks from turning to damaging acids and catches starchy foods like potato chips before they turn to cavity-causing sugar. If you brush with fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before going to bed, you don't even need to use toothpaste at work. You can just brush and rinse before heading back to your desk. If you don't have a toothbrush, rinsing your mouth with water for 30 seconds after lunch also helps.

Tips to improve your office brushing habits:

  • Post a sticky note on your desk or computer as a reminder to brush teeth after lunch.
  • Brush teeth right after lunch, before you become absorbed in work.
  • Store your toothbrush and toothpaste at work in a convenient and handy place.
  • Make brushing your teeth part of your freshening-up routine at work.
  • When brushing at the office or away from home, it's important to make an extra effort to keep your toothbrush germ-free.

Tips on how to properly store and care for your toothbrush at work:

  • Always store your toothbrush in a travel container.
  • Dry your toothbrush after use and before returning to its container.
  • Change the toothbrush you take to work more often than your toothbrush at home to avoid bacteria build-up.

For more information regarding proper dental hygiene, or to book a consulation with a Winnipeg dentist, contact our Winnipeg Dental Clinic.

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The best way to clean your teeth
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