Brush Your Way to Healthy Teeth and Gums

How hard can it be? We’ve been doing it all of our lives!

We’re doing lots of things differently these days – some better, some not. You may have learned to brush up-and-down, not sideways, and later to brush in a circular motion rather than up and down. Let’s take a minute to review.

When? Brush when you get up in the morning and before going to bed at night. That’s the bare minimum. If you have cavities or periodontal disease, brush after every meal besides. Your mouth will thank you.

How long? Brush for two minutes each time.Thirty seconds per quadrant gets the job done. Hum a catchy melody, or use an egg timer. If your hygienist says you have a problem quadrant, spend a bit more time on that one – without shorting the other three.

What basic tools? Use a soft-bristled brush with an easy-to-grasp handle. Stiff bristles can irritate sensitive teeth and gums. Air-dry your toothbrush between brushings; don’t cover it up. Replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head for electric brushes) every 3-4 months, and oftener if it gets frayed.

What other tools? Get an end-tufted brush, the kind with little clumps of bristles, for cleaning those hard-to-reach places. If you have restorations like crowns or bridges, we may recommend an even softer toothbrush.

How to brush? Angle the toothbrush against your teeth and use short gentle motions on the outside, the inside, and the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Don’t scrub hard, and don’t brush horizontally along the gum line.

What to use? Use fluoride toothpaste. Usually a pea-sized dab is enough as long as you don’t rinse the brush while you’re using it and brush away the toothpaste.

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