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Are You Brushing Your Teeth the Right Way?

brushing your teeth

Most dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, to maintain oral hygiene and stay healthy. But brushing teeth your teeth twice a day is NOT enough to start your day on a healthy note. It is equally important to brush your teeth THE RIGHT WAY as it helps to destroy harmful bacteria present in the mouth along with cleaning the teeth and gums effectively. But do you brush your teeth the right way? Well, before you answer this question, read the article.

The effectiveness of brushing your teeth depends upon how you brush. The wrong technique may damage your teeth beyond repair whereas, the right way of brushing may protect your teeth from dental problems in the long run. Here’s the difference between the wrong way and the right way of brushing the teeth.

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The wrong way of brushing your teeth

If you are using your toothbrush to brush your teeth in a back-and-forth motion (which most people do), then you are brushing the teeth the wrong way. In fact, you brush until you feel your teeth are clean. Moreover, you think that the faster and harder you brush, the more effective it is to clean the teeth. But, when you do so, the bristles of the toothbrush can cause damage to your teeth. Additionally, it is causing more harm than good in helping you brush your teeth effectively. Here’s how:

1) You are actually scrubbing away the precious tooth enamel when you brush this way. This method is very abrasive to your teeth and gums. Your teeth may become more sensitive to hot and cold.

2) Your teeth do not get cleaned effectively as the bristles are just moving back and forth, without involving the spaces in between the teeth. Bristles could not clean the spaces in between your teeth to remove plaque and other tiny particles of food, thereby increasing the risk of dental problems.

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The right way of brushing your teeth

To brush your teeth the right way, all you need to do is follow these six simple steps recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA).

1) To begin with, place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Make sure that bristles are in contact with both the tooth surface and the gum line.

2) Move the brush back and forth gently in short strokes. Gently brush the outer tooth surfaces such that you can brush around 2-3 teeth at a time. Move brush to the next group of two to three teeth and repeat.

3) Maintain a 45-degree angle with bristles contacting the tooth surface. Brush the outer surfaces, the inside surfaces and the chewing surfaces of all teeth.

4) To clean the inside surface of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up and down strokes.

5) Place the brush against the biting surface of the teeth and use a gentle back and forth scrubbing motion.

6) Do not forget to brush your tongue as it helps to remove the bacteria from the tongue and keep your breath fresh.

We understand that it is not easy to relearn brushing after you have been following a single method for a long time. However, learning the right technique is important to reap the benefit of brushing teeth. So give it some time and practice it every day till you get adapted to the right way and the results will speak for themselves.

How to choose a toothbrush?

With so many types of toothbrush available in the market, it is really difficult to make a choice as to which one to buy. There are different shapes, sizes, and styles of toothbrushes which makes things confusing a bit more. Here are a few features to watch out for while picking up a toothbrush:

Soft bristle toothbrushes are the best. It helps to remove plaque and debris from your teeth without putting too much pressure on the teeth and the gums.

Small-headed toothbrushes are good to use as they can reach all areas of the mouth, even the inaccessible back teeth area. 

Toothbrushes with flexible handle can help you provide the right grip. Remember the best toothbrush to use is one that fits your mouth comfortably and that reaches all teeth with much ease.

Electric toothbrushes are also available in the market. It is a good alternative as it cleans the teeth in a better way. It is mostly recommended for people who are undergoing orthodontic treatment and for those who have trouble using their hands. It is also suggested for individuals with limited mobility.

You can always consult your dentist for advice about which toothbrush to use.

When to replace your toothbrush?

Needless to say that a worn out toothbrush cannot clean the teeth properly. You must replace your toothbrush when it starts to wear out. Dentists recommend replacing the toothbrush every three months. Make sure you change your toothbrush after an illness as the bristles of the toothbrush collects germs which can increase the risk of a reinfection.

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)

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