Do You Brush Your Teeth Properly?

Although your dentist's assistance is fundamental when it comes to maintaining the health of your teeth and gums, the ultimate responsibility is yours. However, much of that responsibility can be honored with little more than a humble toothbrush. Regular brushing is about your best weapon in the ongoing battle between your teeth and the elements of your diet that seek to corrode them. Have you ever wondered if you're doing it right?

Two Minutes

You may have been taught that you should spend two minutes brushing your teeth. This advice is sound, but do you follow through? Think about timing how long it takes for you to perform what you consider to be a sufficient brushing. Does it fall well short of the two-minute mark? If your brushing sessions are on the shorter side of things, use a stopwatch, or play a two-minute song to guide you during your brushings. 

When to Brush

While your second brushing of the day should happen right before you go to bed, what about the earlier one? Some dentists suggest that it doesn't really matter whether this happens before or after breakfast as long as it happens. You might prefer to do it after breakfast to dislodge food particles from your teeth (while also addressing any coffee breath).

More Than Twice a Day

You can brush your teeth more often than twice a day, but excessive brushing doesn't necessarily lead to healthier teeth. Brushing too often and too vigorously can begin to compromise your dental enamel, as you're literally buffing away your teeth's protective covering. You may wish to brush after every meal, but you should be cautious about exceeding this level. 

The Hardness of Your Bristles

The type of brush you use also contributes to the effectiveness of your oral hygiene. Too hard a brush and you're exposing yourself to the same concerns possible with excessive brushing. If the brush is too hard, you may begin to wear down your dental enamel. The next time you're at the dentist for a checkup, ask them to recommend the best possible brush for your teeth. They might specify a manufacturer, but it's really a question of whether your teeth will most benefit from bristles that are soft, medium, or hard.

Professional Cleaning

Those dental checkups shouldn't be thought of as optional. They provide an essential opportunity for your dentist to perform one of the most vital dental services—professional cleaning. This removes the dental plaque you're unable to shift yourself, along with calculus (which is hardened dental plaque). This professional cleaning (called scaling and polishing) also prevents plaque and calculus from triggering gingivitis (inflammation of your gums). 

Brushing your teeth is the best way to keep them healthy, but brushing should be done as efficiently as possible to maximize its benefits. Contact a local dental office for more information.