Brushing your teeth, along with tying your shoes, was probably one of the first things you learned to do on your own as a child. After all, regular toothbrushing is central to good oral health, as you can learn from any dentist. It may surprise you to find out, though, that it’s quite possible you haven’t been brushing your teeth correctly all these years.
If so, you shouldn’t feel ashamed. As a daily habit, it is very easy to become complacent in brushing your teeth. Falling into a bad habit takes a long time, but it only takes a few moments to learn how to brush correctly again. Here are some ways in which you may be able to improve your daily brushing.
Spend More Time with Your Toothbrush
Like many Canadians, you probably lead a very busy life. You may be rushed in the mornings and exhausted in the evenings. Still, it doesn’t pay to neglect your oral health. While brushing twice a day is usually sufficient, you need to be certain you’re brushing for a sufficient amount of time.
Most dentists recommend you spend at least two minutes brushing, twice a day. This will give you ample time to address all the surfaces of your teeth and your gumlines. If you have difficulty estimating two minute’s time, consider using an hourglass, stopwatch, or digital timer. Even better, pick one of your favorite songs that is at least two minutes in length and listen to it while brushing. When the song is over, you can stop brushing.
Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly
Many things in your life need regular maintenance or replacement, including your toothbrush. Your toothbrush is put through a lot on a daily basis and will eventually begin to wear down and lose bristles. Don’t wait until a visit to your dentist to get a new one. The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends replacing your toothbrush every three months. Of course, you should replace it sooner if you notice signs of wear.
Angle Your Toothbrush
Holding your toothbrush perpendicular to the surface of your teeth and moving it left to right isn’t a very efficient method of brushing. Instead, angle your brush about 45 degree to your gumline and move up and down. This will ensure that you’re brushing the entire tooth surface as well as cleaning debris from under your gums.
Easy Does It
“The harder, the better,” does not apply to toothbrushing. In fact, you may be using too much elbow grease in your brushing routine. If brushing is painful, or you notice abrasions or blood on your gums, you may be pressing down too hard as you brush. These signs could also be an indication of gum disease, so consult with your dentist to be sure.
The fact is that not much force is required for proper brushing. Furthermore, you don’t need a toothbrush with incredibly stiff bristles. Not only do stiff toothbrush bristles abrade and injure the gums, they also aren’t very good at getting beneath the gumline. Again, the CDA recommends using a toothbrush with soft bristles and replacing it at the first sign of wear.