There are a lot of myths and misconceptions around dental care. The only advice that most people get is to wash their teeth before going to bed every day. Sometimes, they might also be warned that tooth brushing should take at least 2 minutes – but that’s practically it.
They never say anything about the applicable method, interdental cleaning or brushing the tongue.
Let us first take a look at the criteria of adequate dental care, and then discuss what we should and should not do while brushing our teeth.
How should we brush our teeth?
The rules of adequate tooth brushing
- Wash your teeth at least twice every day, in the morning and in the evening; it is even better to wash our teeth after every meal.
- Place the bristles halfway between the teeth and the gum, in a slightly bent angle. Wash your teeth with 20 circular motions, while the bristles are facing the gums.
- After that, make sweeping motions from the gums in the direction of the top of the teeth. Repeat after every 2-3 teeth, until you finish with the entire line of teeth.
- Brush the chewing surface thoroughly with side-to-side motions.
- The whole process should take 3 minutes.
- Use a floss or an interdental brush.
- Look inside your mouth, for instance using a small mirror, to check whether your gums or oral mucosa has changed.
- You can buy plaque disclosing tablets to check the results, and in case of remaining plaque, you should wash your teeth again.
- Remember that you should visit a dentist at least once but rather twice every year for a check and a professional dental treatment. This way, you can prevent the excruciating pain as caries can be treated on time.
What should we not do while we brushing our teeth?
Buying cheap toothbrushes
Good quality toothbrushes are essential for adequate tooth brushing and for teeth that remain healthy in the long term. This is not something we should save money on.
We can choose from toothbrushes in several sizes, with many types of designs and bristles. The size of the toothbrush should be chosen according to the size of our mouth: if it is too large, we cannot reach tight areas and can even hurt our gums. If it is too small, chances are that we cannot do a proper job.
The bristles should be soft; we must definitely avoid hard bristles as they may damage the gums and even the enamel. The bristles should also be angled rather than straight. In terms of ergonomics, it is important to choose a brush with an appropriate handle that has a non-slip surface.
We should wash our teeth lengthwise
Tooth brushing should start with cleaning the chewing surfaces, in the bottom and in the top, with horizontal scrubs. As for the internal and external parts, we should only apply circular motions starting from the gums.
Tooth brushing not taking enough time
Tooth brushing should take at least 2 but rather 3 minutes; that is the sufficient time needed for a thorough cleaning. This is the only way we can remove most of the plaque and waste from the mouth and the neck of the teeth, preventing dental caries, gingivitis and dental plaque build-up.
Washing our teeth only once a day
Throughout the day, we should wash our teeth at least two but rather three times, or even after every meal.
Not changing our toothbrush for a long time
We should change our toothbrush every 2-3 months, or if the bristles are frayed; if that happens, tooth brushing will not have the desired effect, and there will be a higher risk of damaging the gums.
In case of having a cold, or any disease or infection in our mouth, we must change our toothbrush immediately, as the bacteria hiding among the bristles may lead to reinfection.
Storing our toothbrush in a wet and closed place
We should wash our toothbrush thoroughly with warm tap water every time we use it, and let it dry on an open surface.
Sometimes, it is also useful to put it under direct sunshine to have it disinfected, as bacteria may easily overpopulate among the bristles.
Watching TV, using our smartphones or walking around
If we brush our teeth, we should concentrate and do not do anything else. This is the only way that tooth brushing will be effective, not causing any damage.
Skipping tooth brushing in the evenings
Brushing our teeth before going to bed is very important. During sleeping, a smaller amount of saliva produced, and as it is responsible for the protection of our teeth, the plaque containing sugar remains acidic for a longer period, constantly damaging the teeth during the night.
The 8 bad habits listed above significantly interferes with adequate dental care, affecting the lifespan and health of our teeth.
We must overcome our fears of visiting a dentist and start having our teeth checked regularly. If we recognise the problem on time and not let it become more serious, we can help solve it more rapidly and without any pain.
If you experience any problems with your teeth or have questions, do not hesitate to consult your dentist in order to receive treatment before the problem gets more serious.