Brushing Your Teeth the Right Way

Dental tips for kids

You’ve probably been brushing your teeth for most of your life, right? In fact, you’ve been taking care of your teeth for so long, you might not even give it a second thought. Unfortunately, brushing your teeth twice a day and actually knowing how to brush teeth properly don’t always go hand-in-hand — especially if you’re on autopilot while standing in front of the mirror. Here are a few daily dental tips for how to care for teeth and gums that you might never have heard.

Don’t Go Side-to-Side. Moving your brush parallel with your gum line is not just an ineffective way to clean your teeth, but it can actually damage your enamel in the long run. The longer stroke you take, the more momentum your bristles have, and the more damage they can potentially cause — microscopic at first, but accumulating over time. Use small, circular motions or an up-and-down technique. Better yet, move the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line.

Stay the Course. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for two to three minutes per session. The majority of brushers only stay in for 45 seconds to a minute. Set a timer to remind you how long to brush. Play a two-minute song on your iPod while you brush. Or watch a two-minute YouTube video to make the time fly by.

Change It Up. We all get stuck in patterns, even if we don’t know it. The vast majority of people brush their teeth the same way every time, with very little variation — left-to-right, outside-to-inside, a zig-zag pattern, etc. This can do wonders for the spots that actually get brushed, but if there are any spots that are being missed, they’re being missed every. Along with extending your brushing time, try to consciously change up your pattern. Eventually, you won’t even have one anymore.

And don’t forget: knowing how to care for toothbrushes is every bit as important as knowing how to care for teeth. Always rinse off your bristles when you’re done, and store the brush vertically so it can dry properly. Replace your toothbrush every three months or whenever the bristles start to curl, whichever comes first. And here’s to your oral health! More research here:

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