Brushing your teeth is your first line of defense against cavities and gum disease (along with a healthy diet and daily flossing!). Preventive care is crucial for your oral health, but are you brushing correctly? When was the last time you thought about your brushing technique? Today, we’re talking about the right way to brush your teeth, with tips from Grant Park general dentist Dr. Abbey Lee. The better your brushing skills, the cleaner your teeth! Simple changes to your daily routine can mean less restorative care like fillings and crowns, and more cost and time savings in the future.
Dr. Abbey Lee offers treatments in general and restorative dentistry, as well as cosmetic dentistry for Grant Park area patients. As a general dentist, Dr. Bridges can provide comprehensive care to ensure your mouth is healthy and beautiful. Currently, our practice is accepting new patients! Come see why so many people choose Smiles 4 Grant Park as their dental care home. Call us at 404.328.7177.
Your toothbrush is your tool to fight against oral bacteria. Make sure you’re well-armed with a toothbrush that carries the seal of approval from the American Dental Association. Dr. Lee, with most other dentists, recommends a soft-bristled brush to effectively remove plaque and food debris without irritating or damaging your enamel and gum tissue.
Once you find the brush that feels right, stock up! It’s important to replace your toothbrush regularly to ensure its functioning properly. Every three months is a good rule of thumb. (However, it’s important to replace more frequently if you are sick, or the bristles become bent or frayed.) If you are looking for convenience and ease, try an electric toothbrush. But if you’d prefer not to splurge, don’t worry; a traditional brush can be just as effective if used correctly.
Once you’ve got the right brush, make sure you use it correctly. Clean with short, gentle strokes, and position the brush at a slightly upward angle to reach the gumline. Contrary to popular belief, plaque does not have to be “scrubbed” away. It can be removed with gentle brushing. If your brush’s bristles are flattened against your gums and teeth, ease up. Too much force can actually be bad for your delicate gums and may slowly erode enamel.
Brush diligently near the gumline where plaque and tartar have a tendency to accumulate. Make sure you reach the teeth farthest back in your mouth. Dr. Lee’s advice? Brush top to bottom. Brush the outside and inside surfaces of your top teeth before moving to the outside and inside surfaces of your bottom teeth. Finish up by reaching the chewing surfaces of each tooth and the top of the tongue.
What does “2 for 2” mean? The American Dental Association recommends brushing at least two times a day, but they also recommend each session lasts a total of two minutes. Unfortunately, many people only brush their teeth for one minute or less. By shorting yourself the full two minutes, you may miss areas of plaque that could quickly contribute to cavities, bad breath, and other oral health problems. Do your teeth a favor and start setting a timer to train yourself on the proper length of brushing time.
Finally, always end your night with flossing. And for even more oral health protection, choose an anti-bacterial mouthwash that contains fluoride to strengthen and build enamel.
Proper daily brushing is the foundation of a healthy smile, but so are routine cleanings with a general dentist! If it’s been six months or more since your last cleaning, give us a call. You can reach a member of our Smiles 4 Grant Park staff by calling us at 404.328.7177.