Tips for Brushing Your Teeth
What is the best technique for brushing?
One effective, easy-to-remember technique involves using a circular or elliptical motion to brush a couple of teeth at a time, gradually covering the entire mouth. Place a toothbrush beside your teeth at a 45-degree angle and gently brush teeth in an elliptical motion. Brush the outside of the teeth, inside the teeth, your tongue, and the chewing surfaces and in between teeth. Using a back and forth motion causes the gum surface to recede, or can expose the root surface or make the root surface tender.
Soft or hard bristles?
In general, a toothbrush should have soft, nylon bristles with round ends. Some brushes are too abrasive and can wear down teeth, so medium and hard bristles are not recommended. A soft, rounded, multi-tufted brush cleans teeth effectively with minimal risk of damage. Electric toothbrushes are also effective. The bristles of the electric brush should be placed against the teeth and gums and moved systematically over the teeth allowing the brush to do its job.
How long should I brush?
It might be a good idea to brush with the radio on, since we generally recommend brushing 3-4 minutes—the length of an average song. Patients generally think they’re brushing longer, but most spend less than a minute brushing.
Should I brush at work?
It’s definitely a good idea to keep a toothbrush in your desk, since getting the debris off teeth right away stops sugary snacks from turning to damaging acids. If you brush with fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before going to bed, you don’t even need to use toothpaste at work. You can just brush and rinse before heading back to the desk. If you don’t have a toothbrush with you, rinsing your mouth with water for 30 seconds after lunch also helps.
The following tips may improve your brushing habits:
- Post a sticky note on your desk or computer at work as a reminder to brush teeth after lunch.
- Brush teeth right after lunch, before you become absorbed in work.
- Store a toothbrush and toothpaste at work in a convenient and handy place.
- Make brushing your teeth part of your freshening up routine at work.