You’ve been brushing your teeth for your entire life. You brush before you leave the house and then once again before you go to bed. Sometimes, you even brush after eating at some other point in the day. Brushing your teeth is a habit that you developed a long time ago, and hopefully, it’s not one that you’ll be quitting anytime soon.
But are you brushing your teeth correctly?
You have been brushing your teeth for so long and doing it so regularly that you may not even realize that you’ve let your routine grow a little slack. Over time, if you don’t correct bad habits, your oral health can suffer greatly in the form of tooth decay, gingivitis, or even oral cancer.
To help our NYC patients make sure that they’re brushing their teeth correctly, we’re here with a quick rundown of some of the most important dos and don’ts of brushing your teeth.
DO: Brush with the Right Kind of Toothbrush
Do you know which kind of toothbrush you should be using? There are plenty of different varieties available in most drugstores, but not every brush is right for you.
When selecting your next toothbrush, pay attention to these aspects:
- Bristles — Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles. Brushes with medium or hard bristles are much too abrasive for our gum tissue, which is very sensitive and delicate. The packaging will indicate the texture of the bristles, so make sure that you double-check before tossing it in your shopping cart.
- Size — It’s important to choose a brush that’s the right size for your mouth. If you have a smaller mouth, look for a brush with a smaller head so that you can reach every corner of your teeth. If the head is too big, you won’t be able to get those hard-to-reach spots, meaning that the food and plaque will remain on your teeth.
- Manual vs. Electric — If you find that you have a hard time brushing thoroughly or for a full two minutes, you may benefit from an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes usually come with a built-in timer, making it easier to brush for the amount of time that you need.
DON’T: Overdo It
“Too much of a good thing is still too much.”
Have you ever heard that phrase? It applies to cookies, exercise, and even brushing your teeth.
It may seem counterintuitive, but brushing too much is actually harmful to your teeth. Brushing more than three times per day can actually damage your enamel and gums, leading to tooth decay. Yes, that’s right—brushing your teeth can cause cavities!
Thoroughness is more important than toughness when it comes to brushing. Plaque is so soft that it doesn’t take much more than a washcloth to remove it, but you can’t reach every corner of your mouth with one.
Brushing each side of every tooth twice per day, flossing, and regular dental visits are all it takes to keep your teeth healthy. Do it better, not more often!
DO: Brush for the Right Amount of Time
Perhaps you already know that you’re making this mistake. If you’re rushing out the door in the morning or excited to fall into bed at night, it’s tempting to quickly pull a brush across your teeth for a few seconds and call it a day.
This is a huge mistake!
If you don’t brush your teeth for two minutes at a time, there’s no way that you’ll be able to remove all of the plaque and bacteria from your teeth. You should spend 30 seconds on each side of your mouth: the front of your bottom teeth, the backs of your bottom teeth, and then the same on the top. If you need to, set a timer on your phone or stopwatch to help you time it out.
DON’T: Overuse Your Brush
Take a look at your toothbrush. Are the bristles tight and uniform? Or are they looking frayed, frazzled, and disorderly?
Frayed bristles can’t clean as effectively as tight ones and they can actually damage your gum tissue. That can lead to a host of oral health problems—all because of brushing your teeth.
Most dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every 3 months, but if your bristles are looking a little less-than-stellar, do your teeth a favor and get a new one.
DO: Pay Us a Visit
At PerioNYC, your dental health is important to us. Let us brush your teeth for you and make an appointment with our Manhattan team!