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Tooth Brushing Best Practices

Everyone knows that the most important thing you can do at home to improve your dental health is to regularly brush your teeth. Unfortunately, not everyone knows the best way to brush their teeth. If you aren’t sure whether you are brushing your teeth correctly, our tooth brushing quiz can give you some insight!

In reality, brushing your teeth properly isn’t that hard. All it takes is a little practice and knowledge of teeth brushing best practices to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to keep your teeth healthy. That's why the Wilmington, NC dentists at Salling & Tate have come up with some tips for how to brush your teeth correctly, as well as some of the things you should take care to avoid when brushing.

Tips for Brushing Your Teeth

In order to make sure your teeth are getting as clean as possible, keep the following in mind:
  • First and foremost, make sure your toothbrush is in good shape. A brush that has frayed bristles, or that is older than 3-4 months, should be replaced ASAP with a brush that’s approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
  • If possible, look for a fluoride toothpaste that also bears the ADA seal of approval.
  • Brush your teeth for a solid two minutes at least twice a day. If you can, brushing about 15-20 minutes after each meal is an even better practice.
  • Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. This is the ideal position to achieve maximum cleanliness.
  • Don’t move the toothbrush up and down. Instead, move it in small, circular motions as you brush.
  • The easiest way to make sure you get each tooth clean is to mentally divide your mouth into four sections, and focus on each quadrant for at least 30 seconds.
  • As you’re brushing, make sure to get the inside, outside, and top of each tooth.
  • Don’t be worried about hitting the gum line. In fact, brushing your gums helps them stay healthy as well.
Brush teeth in a circular motion

What Not to Do When Brushing Your Teeth

Believe it or not, you actually can brush your teeth incorrectly. Remember to avoid these things when brushing your teeth:
  • Harder isn’t better. Plaque isn’t actually that hard to get off if you brush regularly, so there’s no need to scrub too hard. Instead, brush your teeth as though you’re massaging them.
  • Don’t rush your brush. That two-minute mark is pretty important when it comes to staying healthy, so don’t cut it short.
  • Never brush with an old brush! Bacteria can build up in old brushes and, honestly, brushes with bent bristles don’t clean well at all.
  • Store your toothbrush in an open container, away from other toothbrushes. Cross-contamination and closed containers can both result in bacteria, mold, and yeast growth.

Extra Tips for Healthy Teeth

How to brush your teeth correctlyBrushing isn’t the only thing that keeps your teeth healthy - there are lots of other things you can do too! For example:
  • Flossing regularly allows you to dislodge bits of food between the teeth and can help cut down on bacterial growth.
  • Cutting down on sugar is always beneficial to dental health.
  • Drinking more water helps keep your gums hydrated and washes excess food off your teeth.
  • Using a fluoride mouthwash is a great way to battle cavities.
  • Brushing your tongue is a must since the bacteria that grows there can make its way to your teeth and gums over time.

And, of course, visiting your dentist every six months for regular checkups is just as important as brushing. Not only does your dentist have the tools needed to do a good, deep cleaning, they also check for things like gum disease and oral cancer. You should also visit your dentist if you notice things like swollen gums, bleeding while brushing, tooth pain, or hot/cold sensitivity.

If you’re trying to find a new dentist in Wilmington, North Carolina - get in touch with us! Our dentists are certified by the American Dental Association and have decades of experience in both family and cosmetic dentistry. Fill out our online form to schedule your appointment, or give us a call at 910-256-9040.
Salling & Tate Dentistry

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