Think you know how to brush your teeth?

July 31st, 2017

We all know from an early age how important is to brush our teeth every day, but when were you last taught how to brush properly? And did you realise millions of us are not following the latest dental advice when we brush? As a recent Daily Mail article detailed, dental experts see awful mistakes made regularly by people.

Today’s article aims to help you to check you are brushing well, and aren’t making any of the common mistakes when it comes to your daily brushing regime.

How often should you brush?

Let’s start with an easy one. Brush twice every day. It sounds obvious, but a recent Daily Mail Online story revealed an amazing half of the US population doesn’t follow this essential bit of dental care.

When should you brush?

Brushing your teeth before bed is particularly important, because the plaque that damages teeth forms most easily while we sleep.

But did you know brushing straight after food can actually be damaging to teeth? Eating food, especially acidic food, softens the tooth enamel temporarily. So brushing while the enamel is softer can wear it away more easily.

The trick is to brush before you eat, as soon as you wake up is easiest to remember. Or wait over 30 minutes after eating if you brush after breakfast.

How much toothpaste should you use?

A pea-size dollop of toothpaste is all you need, so don’t overload your toothbrush with the inch of toothpaste some TV adverts might lead you to believe!

What do you focus your brushing on?

The key to successful brushing is removing food and debris from hard to reach places, like the gum line and areas between teeth. So, as well as focussing on brushing your teeth, you should also aim to angle the bristles towards the areas where your teeth meet the gum. Make sure the rotating motion of your brushing is getting the bristles running back and forth into those tight gaps.

How hard should you brush?

Brushing harder might seem like the route to a more thorough clean, but all advice is to go gently when you brush. Hard brushing doesn’t just cause receding gums and enamel damage, it can actually be less effective than soft brushing.

When bristles are pressed too hard they wear down and can’t reach the crevices they need to. Think of your brush as an artist’s paint brush, not a decorator’s roller!

How long should I brush?

2 minutes is the key here. Research has shown that this is the typical time it would take for each tooth to have had enough attention for a thorough brush. It can be hard to judge, so why not use a timer to check how long 2 minutes is the next time you brush. You might be surprised how short a time you were giving your teeth the attention they need!

To rinse or spit?

A very common mistake made by many brushers is to rinse their mouth out after brushing. STOP! This actually washes out the toothpaste before it can do its best work. It is much better to leave it in your mouth, so try spitting out any excess and ignoring the rest. It might feel icky at first, but you will soon get used to it!

Did you learn something new? If not, well done you are already a champion brusher, but I bet a lot of you were falling down on at least one of these tips, I certainly was.

To see further dental expert advice from the Daily Mail, visit:

For more information on how to look after your teeth, visit the Oral Health Foundation:

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