By this point, you're familiar with the basic rule for taking care of your teeth: Brush at least twice per day, for at least two minutes per session, and floss at least once a day. It's generally recommended that you brush in the morning, again in the evening and after each meal, if possible.
However, frequency isn't the only thing that matters; technique matters too. How you brush can help remove plaque and preserve your teeth - or it can end up irritating your gums or spreading bacteria around your mouth. As you look to upgrade your dental health, consider the following suggestions for brushing your teeth.
Tooth Brushing Technique
Start with a soft, nylon-bristled brush. This material is less likely to scratch the enamel and irritate your gums. From here:
- Hold the brush directly onto your teeth.
- Move the brush in a circular (rather than back-and-forth) motion that travels down toward the gumline.
- As you brush, be sure to make contact with both your teeth and the gumline.
- Go over all chewing surfaces. This includes the front and sides, as well as the insides and top of each tooth.
- Progress through your mouth at two to three teeth at a time before moving onto the next few teeth.
- When brushing behind your teeth, angle the brush vertically and move through a series of up-and-down and back-and-forth motions.
- Don't forget about your tongue. Brushing your tongue helps remove additional bacteria from your mouth and can help reduce bad breath.
- Watch your pressure as you brush. Being too hard or too aggressive, especially when using a back-and-forth motion, can wear away the enamel and damage gum tissue.
When to Brush Your Teeth
Timing is key in terms of deciding when to brush your teeth. Generally, you should avoid brushing immediately after a meal. Instead, drink some water and wait about half an hour after eating to brush. Realize that right after eating, you have a higher concentration of acids in your mouth, both from what you just ate and those generated by any bacteria present. Waiting allows the saliva to neutralize the pH. Not waiting can ultimately cause you to spread acid across your teeth, which can accelerate wear and abrade the enamel.
Take a holistic look at your toothbrush and dental care routine by considering the following:
- Brush type: Along with soft bristles, your toothbrush should be able to reach all areas of your mouth without causing you discomfort.
- Brush replacement: Only use your brush - either a manual brush or the head for an electric toothbrush - for a maximum of four mouths, or until the bristles start to flatten and fray. Otherwise, the bristles begin to harbor various bacteria that can increase your risk for gum disease.
- Toothpaste: Look up the RDA score for your toothpaste to ensure it has a low score and isn't damaging your teeth's enamel.
- Go beyond brushing: Brushing is just part of the picture. Flossing targets the bacteria between your teeth and close to the gumline - areas where bristles can't reach.
- Diet: Continue lowering your risks for tooth decay and gum disease by reducing the amount of sugary, carbohydrate-heavy and acidic foods you consume.
- Routine dental visits: Be sure to schedule a dental checkup every six months to have your oral health assessed and plaque deposits removed.
Take a comprehensive approach to your at-home dental routine with the izzo® 4-in-1 Oral Care System. This system includes an Oscillating Brush Head plus a Polishing Cup Head and Enamel Polishing Paste to reduce surface stains, and a Scaler to remove deposits from hard-to-reach areas. Combine the oral care system with Eco Floss Picks to remove debris stuck between your teeth.