You brush your teeth and you think it is enough? Have you ever wondered if you are doing it right? Judging by the concerning oral health statistics from around the world, many people don’t master the proper teeth brushing technique. If they did, the incidence of decays and gum diseases wouldn’t have literally skyrocketed for the past years.
In this article, we’d like to introduce you to some of the teeth brushing best practices, for adults and children. Read on and see how well you are doing or if you are not actually risking the health of your teeth. We have also prepared a top of the 7 most common teeth brushing mistakes, will you recognize any of those?
The term might be a bit misleading, but brushing the teeth should be more like a gentle scrub. And it isn’t only about the moves you make. Moreover, it involves choosing the right toothpaste and the right toothbrush. The size of the toothbrush and the texture of its bristles are just as important.
Dentists recommend using toothbrushes with smaller heads. This will make it easier for you to reach the tightest areas of the mouth. The bristles would have to be round-ended and densely packed. Soft to medium textures are preferred instead of harsher, synthetic filaments. Contrary to what many believe, softer bristles are more effective in cleaning the plaque. Harsher bristles aren’t just uncomfortable and less effective – they can even deteriorate the tooth structure.
When it comes to the type of toothbrush – manual or powered – there’s one essential distinction. Powered models are usually more effective than the manual ones, yet only those with a rotation oscillation action. These particular models can reduce gum inflammation and plaque, without being more aggressive with the gums.
With these basic details covered, let us detail some of the teeth brushing best practices for adults and children.
Effective teeth brushing for adults
Choosing the right toothbrush helps with effective teeth brushing. Nevertheless, it still requires knowing how to use it. Once the right moves are understood and learned, it only takes a bit of practice for making it a healthy habit.
The best teeth brushing routine for adults, as recommended by dentists, includes the following:
- Brush the teeth twice a day – best to do it in the morning and evening, though not mandatory at these particular times of the day;
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles – even soft-to-medium, but never harsh bristles;
- Hold the toothbrush in a pen grip – only with the thumb and the forefinger, without resting it in the palm, to avoid putting too much pressure;
- Use a fluoride toothpaste – ideally, you spit and not rinse after brushing, to help prolong the fluoride effect on the teeth health;
- Make gentle moves – circular moves on the surface, short up-and-down moves on the gum line, guiding the bristles between the teeth;
- Make the bristles jiggle back and forth – try a vibratory motion, on top of the same group of teeth, the bristles entering between teeth, not just gliding on top of them;
- Meticulously clean all the parts of the teeth – do not forget the tongue-side and the tongue itself;
- Incline the toothbrush on the gum line – keep it at a 45-degree angle against the gum line when brushing that area;
- Continue with floss and mouthwash – at least once a day after the regular teeth brushing.
Effective teeth brushing for kids
Kids get a second chance when the baby teeth are gone. But that doesn’t mean that ignoring kids’ teeth brushing is a good idea. In fact, research has shown children with decays from young ages will experience decays much earlier as adults. This is just one of the reasons why parents must encourage children to brush as soon as the first tooth appeared. Moreover, teaching kids oral hygiene will make it easier for them to stick to this habit as they grow.
Important things about teeth brushing at young ages:
- Teeth brushing has to begin, as mentioned, from the first tooth;
- Parents should supervise or brush the kids’ teeth until they learn to do it correctly, even up to 7 years old;
- Soft-bristle toothbrushes are as mandatory for children as they are for adults;
- Fluoride toothpaste is not recommended for children under 2 years old;
- After 2 years, fluoride paste could have 1,000 to 1,500 part per million Fluoride (ppm F);
- The amount used for one brushing is recommended to be the equivalent of a small pea;
- Children should brush their teeth twice a day – gentle, circular moves on all parts and facets of their teeth;
- Fluoride toothpaste shouldn’t be spit when teeth brushing is done.
Recommended flossing technique
Dental flossing, just like any other interdental cleaning instrument is useful as long as it is used the right way. Below is a recommended flossing technique that rounds up all the best practices you can rely on:
- Always start with clean hands;
- Break off up to 18 inches (or 45 cm) of dental floss;
- Wind the ends of the floss around each forefinger;
- You might still remain with up to 4 inches (10 cm) of dental floss between your fingers;
- Use the thumbs from each hand to hold the floss tightly between the thumbs and the forefingers;
- Start guiding the floss between adjacent teeth with a gentle, sawing motion;
- Slow down when you’re getting close to the gums so you avoid injuries and bleeding;
- When floss reaches the gum, curve it around one teeth;
- Continue to slide it into the tiny space between tooth and gum;
- Insist at the gum line and at the vertical teeth line;
- When you’re done with one tooth curve the floss around the other adjacent tooth and repeat the moves;
- As you clean your teeth, the floss will get dirty;
- Unwind some unused floss from one finger while winding the used floss to the other finger;
- Gradually do this will all your teeth, making sure to use a clean part of the floss every time;
- Wash your hands once again when you’re done.