You may not realize it, but your teeth and gums can still suffer even if you’re diligent about brushing every day. If you’re using a toothbrush that doesn’t meet the requirements for getting your teeth clean or brushing with an ineffective technique, you can actually do more harm than good. You should always check with your dentist to see if your home oral hygiene regimen is sufficient for preventing oral disease, which is an important benefit of proper brushing.
Tools of The Trade
It’s all about the brush when it comes to oral hygiene. You should be using a soft-bristled toothbrush, as brushes with hard bristles can actually damage your enamel and gum tissue. You should also be sure to switch up your toothbrush every 3-4 months. It might be easiest to remember to do so at your semi-annual dentist appointments, and midway between those routine checkups. You can also keep track on a calendar to remind yourself when it’s time for a new brush. Be careful about storing your toothbrush correctly as well. If you keep it in a closed container, it can provide ample opportunity for germs to proliferate. Leave it in the open to airdry instead.
The way that you brush your teeth matters, too. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle along the gumline to disrupt plaque and tartar formation in that area. It’s good to be enthusiastic about brushing, but don’t overdo it. After all, it is possible to brush your teeth too hard, and doing so can cause wear and tear on your enamel and your gum tissue.
You also need to plan for the timing of your brushing, which should happen at least 60 minutes after eating or drinking. This is especially true if you’ve consumed acidic foods or beverages. Acidic residue can weaken your enamel, and brushing too soon can exacerbate this effect. You should also be sure to brush for two minutes each session.
In combination with routine preventive cleanings and exams at your dentist appointments, effective brushing is a first-line defense against harmful oral diseases. Talk to your hygienist at your next checkup for a refresher on brushing technique and to ask any questions you may have about this important habit.