If you’ve ever been scolded by your dentist during a routine checkup, you know how embarrassing it can be, especially if you brush, floss and use mouthwash every day. Oral hygiene isn’t something to be embarrassed about but you might’ve found yourself thinking “What is the best way to brush my teeth?” Growing up our parents taught us the basics of caring for our teeth but there are other things that can make the effect of brushing your teeth more impactful on your overall oral health. In this article, we will go over the proper way to brush your teeth and how to keep both your teeth and gums healthy!

How Long Do You Brush Your Teeth And How Often?

The bare minimum amount of times you should brush your teeth every day is twice.Although you should brush your teeth after every meal. In the morning many people choose to put the act of brushing their teeth off until after their morning coffee and breakfast to avoid combining the taste of toothpaste and coffee. 

After eating breakfast, it is best to wait a few minutes before brushing your teeth. While we eat, the acids in our food soften our tooth enamel, the surface of our teeth that protects the tooth from decay and cavities. If you brush your teeth immediately after eating, you may be damaging your teeth with the abrasiveness of your toothbrush. To avoid your toothbrush damaging the enamel on your teeth, wait about 30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth.

Every time you brush your teeth you should brush them for a minimum of 2 minutes. Most people don’t realize how long 2 minutes of brushing really is and cut their brushing time short. Next time you brush your teeth, try setting a timer or playing a song and see how long 2 minutes of brushing really is!

What Toothpaste Should I Use?

While walking through the grocery store you may have noticed there are dozens of different types of toothpaste. Not all of them are alike! Different kinds of toothpaste serve different purposes and there are some types of toothpaste that you should completely avoid as well.

Many people choose to brush their teeth with whitening toothpaste when in reality these aren’t the best for your teeth. If you do choose to use a whitening toothpaste, make sure it has the American Dental Association’s seal on the packaging. 

Ideally, you want to use toothpaste with a high amount of fluoride. Fluoride is the ingredient that keeps teeth healthy and strong. For those with sensitive teeth, there are kinds of toothpaste made especially for you. These kinds of toothpaste are best suited for people who have sensitive teeth after a filling or have gained sensitivity due to their age. 

If you’re having trouble deciding which type of toothpaste you should use, ask your dentist for a prescription toothpaste. They can get you a high fluoride toothpaste that usually is unavailable over the counter. These types of toothpaste are the best for keeping your teeth healthy and strong.

What Toothbrush Should I Use?

Similar to toothpaste, your toothbrush also has an effect on how you brush your teeth and its effectiveness. 

If you have healthy natural teeth, you should pick up a toothbrush that has firm bristles. While some dentists heavily recommend electric toothbrushes, there is nothing wrong with traditional toothbrushes as long as you choose one with firm bristles. 

If your toothbrush’s bristles are too soft, they won’t be able to effectively clean your teeth. The same applies when they are too hard. If your toothbrush has bristles that are too hard, you may be damaging your teeth more than cleaning them. 

You should also replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, or if you noticed any signs of wear on your toothbrush it’s time to get a new one. A toothbrush will only be effective at getting rid of plaque for so long until the bristles become too worn out.

Your Brushing Routine

Now that you have the right brush and toothpaste what’s next? When you’re ready to start brushing your teeth, the first thing you should do is floss. Like brushing your teeth, you should floss at least twice a day, right before brushing your teeth. 

When you floss your teeth, you are making sure that food and food particles are not trapped between your teeth. Your toothbrush can’t reach between your teeth but floss can. If you don’t floss your teeth, the areas between your teeth will be susceptible to plaque and gum disease. If flossing causes your gums to bleed, then you should floss more often and see your dentist.

After flossing your teeth, the next step is to use mouthwash. The mouthwash will dislodge and flush out remaining debris and food particles from your mouth. The last step is to brush your teeth for 2 minutes. Most people skip straight to brushing their teeth which is why they may still be having oral hygiene issues despite constantly brushing. 

While you may be tempted to rinse your mouth after brushing to get rid of the taste of toothpaste, don’t.By letting the toothpaste sit in your mouth after brushing, the fluoride will do its work and strengthen your teeth. It is best to wait half an hour after brushing before rinsing your mouth or drinking water to allow the fluoride to strengthen your teeth.

Your Brushing Method

While brushing your teeth for a minimum of 2 minutes is recommended, how should you brush your teeth? What is the best method of brushing?

While it depends on whether or not you have had orthodontic work, you should start brushing your teeth from the front and work your way to the back of your mouth. While brushing your teeth, make sure that you spend equal time on the back of your mouth as you do with your front teeth. Just because you don’t see them, doesn’t mean they are any less susceptible to decay and plaque. You should even brush the surface of your tongue. 

If you have orthodontic appliances in your mouth like braces or Invisalign, be gentle brushing around brackets to not damage them or brush food debris to be lodged between them.

Once you think you’ve brushed your entire mouth, do it again! It is best to go over your teeth to be sure you’ve brushed every spot on your teeth and not leave behind food particles or plaque. 

The Proper Way To Brush Your Teeth

Learning the best and proper way to brush your teeth can be the difference between painful oral health issues, and having a clean and bright smile. You’ve been brushing your teeth for your entire life, so it’s easy to put it off but you should always make time to brush and manage your oral health. 

If you become too casual about brushing your teeth, you could face some major oral health problems. If you are looking for more oral hygiene tips and ways to improve your oral health, look around the rest of our dental blog.