A toothbrush is one of the most used, and least thought about, items we rely on every day. But did you know that the kind of toothbrush you use matters? Or that how you brush your teeth makes a difference? Let’s have a look at how best to select and use a toothbrush!
Back to Basics
Brushing teeth is a fast and effective way to keep teeth clean. Along with flossing, brushing removes food and plaque (a clear layer of bacteria) on the teeth. Plaque can harden and turn into tartar, which is a cause of decay and bad breath. Brushing and flossing also stimulates the gums to keep them healthy! The best dental care happens at home, with brushing twice each day and flossing regularly.
Best Toothbrush For You
There are some simple ways to choose a toothbrush that’s right for you.
- Select Soft Bristles – More effective and gentle on gum tissues, everyone should choose a soft-bristled toothbrush. Soft bristles are effective without causing unnecessary damage to your teeth and gums.
- Comfortable Head Size – Your toothbrush needs a head size that is comfortable and that easily fits in your mouth. Don’t think ‘bigger is better’ for your toothbrush, look for one that is the right fit. For children, choose very small head toothbrushes with a large handle for easier grip.
- Manual vs. Electric – Powered toothbrushes clean no better than manual ones! However, if an electric toothbrush helps with any physical limitations or motivates you to brush more often, go electric. Whatever gets you, and keeps you, regularly cleaning is the right toothbrush for you.
- Regular Replacement – You should replace your toothbrush (or head if using an electric toothbrush) every 3-4 months. Worn, faded, or frayed bristles mean you’re long overdue for a replacement! Be sure also to replace your toothbrush after an illness.
- ADA Seal – Did you know that the American Dental Association (ADA) tests toothbrushes? If you would like the assurance of the safety and efficacy of your toothbrush, look for the ADA Seal on the packet.
Perfect the Process
You probably haven’t thought about how you brush your teeth in years. But, no matter what toothbrush you select, it’s key that you brush your teeth correctly.
Hold your brush with your thumb close enough to the head to help with control. Grasp your toothbrush at about a 45-degree angle from your gum line. Brush gently in up-and-down and sweeping strokes. Work your way from where the tooth and gum meets toward the end of the tooth. Be sure to clean front and back of each tooth and thoroughly on each tooth’s chewing surface.
Don’t brush too hard! Scrubbing can lead to sensitive teeth and cause receding gums. As you brush, slowly count to ten to help you be thorough and controlled. Also, brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth for a complete clean. Thoroughly rinse your mouth and toothbrush afterward. Store your toothbrush upright so it can dry.
You should brush for two minutes twice a day, which means about 30 seconds in each quadrant of your mouth: top right, top left, bottom right, and bottom left. Spend the time to reach and remove the bacteria in your mouth twice each day – you’ll be glad you did!