Considered a trivial chore, brushing one’s teeth is actually quite the opposite. It is one of the most important rituals that safeguard our health. Do you know over 700 different types of bacteria reside in your oral cavity, making it one of the soiled spots of our body? On the other hand, the defense mechanisms of our body help to maintain an equilibrium preventing the microbes from creating havoc in our oral cavities. The equilibrium is backed by good practices that cater to oral hygiene.
Compromised oral hygiene leads to problems limited to the oral cavity as bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease. Negligence regarding oral care causes malfunctioning in other bodily functions as that of heart or GIT. It may become a root cause behind the cognitive decline.
Unfortunately, brushing teeth is one of the humdrum activities. For most of us, we need to get over with it in the morning or at night. Then there are those who do not even bother with a brush at night or spend too little time doing it.
The consequences not only take a toll on your health but on your wallet too when you pay hefty cash at the dental clinic. That is beside the mental strain when you spend your precious minutes waiting at the clinic or physical stress of undergoing any therapeutic intervention.
Learning how to brush your teeth properly, for the right amount of time, in the right frequency, with an appropriate toothbrush are all part of the game. Brushing your teeth is an important health ritual just as doing exercise or consuming healthy meals. So the tool and the technique will be discussed under the subject. If you want a vigorous and healthy body that functions at its optimum, you need to take good care of your oral hygiene. What’s more? You deserve a brilliant smile because you have got beautiful teeth.
How frequently should you brush your teeth?
‘Twice a day, every day’. That is the experts’ advice. Once in the morning before breakfast. Once in the evening before going to bed.
The brushing activity in the morning should be done before breakfast and never after. It helps get rid of the annoying smell that is so specific in the morning. Brushing your teeth in the morning also cuts down the number of bacteria that accumulate overnight.
Brushing your teeth in the evening clear away the food particles that get accumulated in between the teeth. The ritual also does away with the buildup of plaque, a sticky colorless bacterial film, which gives rise to dental caries and tartar with passing time.
What kind of toothbrush should you use?
Experts usually advise using a soft-bristled toothbrush, be it manual or powered. The size of the head of the toothbrush should comply with the size of your mouth. Small sized toothbrushes make an appropriate choice for children. Similarly, for the elderly, the shape and size of the toothbrush should be suitable enough for their delicate teeth and gums.
The toothbrush should reach the hard-to-get areas of your mouth. These include the back of molar teeth at the end of the jaw. The bristles should be sturdy enough to pick around fillings, crowns, and other dental aesthetics at the same time soft enough so as not to damage the gums. A toothbrush needs to be changed after every three months or sooner, whatever is required.
How long should you brush your teeth?
The brush-your-teeth ritual should at least be carried out for complete two minutes. No matter how busy a person you are, do not make haste while brushing your teeth. Take these two minutes as the most important interval of your 24-hours.
Two minutes brushing ensures each and every corner of the mouth gets its share of cleansing. It also safeguards against an over-enthusiastic scrub of your teeth. Immoderation cause damage to tooth enamel. For a thorough and correct brushing protocol, two minutes are just enough.
The two-minute principle of brushing your teeth is backed by science. A study published in The Journal of Dental Hygiene reports the effects of brushing time on plaque removal. The time interval ranged from 30 seconds to three minutes. The observations revealed, “Patients who brushed for 45 seconds removed 26 percent less plaque than patients who brushed for two minutes”.
The two minutes may seem awfully time-consuming but rest assured they are significant for comprehensive and methodical plaque removal. Besides our teeth, the other chewing surfaces as gums, cheeks, palate, the back of the oral cavity and tongue also house plaque encouraging bacteria. To remove these microbes, it is essential that you spend at least two minutes brushing these surfaces too.
How to properly brush your teeth?
It is important to brush your teeth in a methodical method so that no spot is missed. Brush the teeth with short back and forth strokes. Take a dentist’s approach by dividing the oral cavity into four quadrants.
- Top right
- Top left
- Bottom right
- Bottom left
Starting from one side and taking one quadrant at a time, brush the front of the teeth and then the back side. Move from right to left quadrant. Work in the same manner on the lower jawline. Make sure to reach the back of the teeth. Ensure proper cleansing of the gums. In the end, gently brush the cheeks.
It is important to hold your brush at a proper angle. The brush and your gum line should make an angle of 45 with each other. It ensures cleaning the entire tooth along with its gum because it is here that many bacteria escape the brushing strokes and keep on thriving. While brushing the inner side of the front incisors, hold your toothbrush vertically downwards for effective cleaning.
Take home message
- A toothbrush with soft bristles work as efficiently as a hard bristled one, choose the soft one
- Brushing twice a day, every day for two minutes is the minimum requisite
- You do not need to scrub your teeth, brushing is just fine
- Ensure brushing the gums and other chewing surfaces
Change your toothbrush as soon as required