Though all of us have been brushing our teeth for most of our lives, mostly twice a day, from the time we were kids. But are you treating your mouth correctly when it comes to brushing? It is commonly thought to affect just our smile and breath but actually it can also prevent more serious diseases, like oral cancer, when done in correct manner. Or it can make you more susceptible to cavities, tooth decay and gum disease, if done incorrectly.
Brushing is not enough: A common misconception is that brushing is enough, but the reality in fact is that brushing alone misses more than half the germs in your mouth. John Dodes, D.D.S, author of Healthy Teeth recognizes that brushing isn’t the only requirement for having healthy teeth. “Your mouth has more germs than there are people on earth, so it’s important to make sure you brush, floss, and rinse to ensure you’re cleaning every surface”, he says.
Time Spent on Brushing: Most dentists recommend brushing for two to three minutes, spending at least 30 seconds on each “quadrant” of your mouth, but few people ever make it to that, as usually people are rushing to get to work or ready to collapse into bed. While on the other extreme, some people brush for too long or do sideways brushing with such an excessive pressure that they can deepen into the tooth's inner dentin and cementum layers.
Aggressive Brushing: Aggressive brushing can be traumatic for sensitive gums, resulting in irritation and gum recession.
Cover Full Area of Mouth: Moreover people miss some of the important areas of mouth while brushing. So, it is important to make a point to look in the mirror while you brush your teeth. Also, clean the tongue, cheeks, and the floor of your mouth. Many people miss the area right at the gum line where plaque, tartar and bacteria can build up, causing the gums to get infected (condition known as gingivitis). Also keep a close eye on the back molars. Do not forget your tongue while brushing, as it harbors a multitude of bacteria. In fact, many toothbrushes like Oral-B CrossAction now feature textured tongue cleaners.
Angle of Brush: Some people do more harm than good as they brush their teeth too often or too long by eroding the enamel on their teeth. Brushing side-to-side can damage the enamel, and cause notches near the gum line called abfraction lesions. So the brush should be held such that the bristles are at 45-degree angle to the surface of teeth. Make sure you brush all the surfaces of all your teeth.
Brush in Circular Motion: Remember to brush the inside surfaces and outside surfaces in circular motion with vibration rather than in straight lines and scrubbing. It's okay to brush in straight lines on the chewing surfaces. After completing your circles, brush away from the gum line to clear off loosened plaque and bacteria.
Use soft or ultrasoft brushes to avoid any damage to your teeth by aggressive brushing, and replace your toothbrush every three months. To minimise germs’ growth, rinse your brush with hot water after use and allow it to dry. To retain more fluoride in your mouth, rinse with as little water as possible, especially if you are prone to cavities.
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