Brushing your teeth seems like a no brainer. Simply load up your trusty toothbrush with some minty-fresh Crest or Colgate and start scrubbing, right? However, how do you know if you’re really brushing your teeth properly? Have you ever truly inspected the quality and effectiveness of the (hopefully) daily habits you use to clean your canines?
Most people, unfortunately, do not. The majority of Americans learn to brush their teeth as early as two years old, yet very few Americans adjust the techniques of their daily cleanings once they’ve been engrained as habit. All it takes is a few minutes and a couple tiny tweaks to ensure that you are taking full advantage of your oral healthcare routine.
Here is a basic guide to ensure you really are brushing at your very best.
Two minutes, twice daily
Quality oral hygiene involves brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day. That’s two sessions of 120 seconds in every 24-hour period. Sounds like no time at all, yet a staggering number of people don’t clock in the ADA-recommended allotment. To ensure a quality cleaning day in and day out, try timing your daily brushings or, better yet, opt for an electric toothbrush that has a self-timer built right in.
Inspect your strokes
How you clean is equally as important as how long you clean, according to the American Dental Association. You could be spending the prescribed four minutes a day brushing your teeth as recommended, but if you’re not doing it properly, you could be wasting your time. The most effective strategies for removing plaque and tartar buildup involve small, circular brush strokes rather than long, sweeping strokes.
Cover the proper ground
A thoroughly effective mouth cleaning should be just that – thorough! Plaque, tartar, and bacteria develop in all areas of the mouth, not just those you can easily see in the mirror. Make sure as you brush that you not only clean the visible fronts of teeth, but also the top chewing surfaces, the backsides, and the molars in the way back.
Don’t forget the tongue
Brushing your teeth properly involves more than just brushing your teeth; it also includes cleaning the tongue. Bacteria grow more on the surface of the tongue than anywhere else in the mouth, contributing to gingivitis and accelerated tooth decay if not eliminated. Likewise, it’s the leading cause of halitosis – bad breath. Finish off each of your daily brushing sessions with a thorough sweep of the tongue’s surface for the ultimate clean and the added benefit of a minty fresh breath.