November 4, 2019 Frank P. Ruffino DDS

Shelby Township MI Dentists Teeth Brushing

Are You Brushing Your Teeth Right?

We know that sometimes when reclined in the dentist’s chair, our advice may go in one ear and out the other. As your Shelby Township dental practice, we don’t want you to be without the proper home care knowledge you need, though. Brushing your teeth is important, and just in case you forgot our advice, we’ve put together this little guide that you can use while at home.

The Value in Brushing Twice a Day

Plaque and tartar buildups are always happening–it’s natural. When we eat food, an invisible film of bacteria called plaque eats the sugary particles left behind. If plaque sits, it calcifies and becomes tartar. But will tartar form overnight if you forget to brush? No.

If you continually allow plaque to build up by skipping teeth brushings or not brushing at all, then tartar will accumulate and damage your teeth. Brushing twice a day serves as a protective cleaning, like weeding a garden. It may sound like a hassle, but taking the time to brush twice daily will save you from things like gum disease, cavities, and nasty bad breath.

The 2/2 Rule

Brushing your teeth twice a day is one half of the 2/2 rule. The other is brushing for at least 2 minutes.

When you think about it, 2 minutes out of your day to protect your mouth from infection, damage, and future pain is not a lot of time. When you’re brushing the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of your teeth, it’s only about 45 seconds on each section. If you’re someone who struggles to use your toothbrush for more than 10 seconds, here are a few tips:

  • Queue up a video to distract you while brushing
  • Use a timer on your smartphone
  • Listen to half of your favorite song
  • Use an erasable marker to draw a picture on your bathroom mirror

Getting into a 2-minute tooth brushing routine will make it easier to do and it will pay off for you down the road.

Should You Brush Hard?

You shouldn’t be brushing hard at all! Brushing your teeth should be a gentle process. When you brush too hard, you risk enamel wear. We caution this because the enamel isn’t something that grows back!

A healthy way to brush your teeth is to keep the tips of the bristles from bending too much. While the toothbrush is in the sides of your mouth, pull it away to create a sort of cave with your cheeks rather than jamming the brush around your gums. Slow and rhythmic circles are also better than zipping the brush back and forth.

What About an Electric Toothbrush?

Some might think a normal toothbrush is better for your mouth because it takes more human energy. But that’s not the case. The best toothbrushes for your mouth are the electric ones, and here’s why:

  • Electric toothbrushes offer more control
  • Electric toothbrushes remove plaque more efficiently
  • Electric toothbrushes provide a deeper clean

With an electric toothbrush, you can focus on positioning the bristles more than moving them around. This gives much better control than a traditional toothbrush! Electric toothbrushes also create a whirlpool effect in your mouth from the spinning motion of the brush. This effect pulls at the plaque in between your teeth to give you a cleaner, healthier smile.

Versus an electric toothbrush, it doesn’t matter what sort of arch or how many bristles your traditional toothbrush has. An electric brush will always surpass it. In today’s market, there are thousands of electric toothbrushes available. We’re not saying you have to go buy the most expensive one, but an electric brush will always pay you back in oral health.

Brush bristles become frayed and weak over time, which means old bristles won’t give you the cleaning you need. We recommend changing your brush every 3-4 months. For electric brushes, this means just changing the brush head.

If you’re someone who has recently gotten dental implants, we do not recommend electric brushes because the vibrations from them can loosen or agitate your implants. But once the implants have fused to your jawbone, this will no longer be an issue. Feel free to ask us about what will work best for you during your next visit.

Do You Brush Your Tongue?

Say what?

If you didn’t know, you should brush your tongue. Not hard, not aggressively, but definitely brush your tongue. One of the best ways to get rid of bad breath is to brush your tongue, actually.

People often skip this step in their brushing routine or don’t do it at all (and it shows–or–smells!). Because everything crosses your tongue (air, liquids, food) it’s prone to the most contamination. A few gentle passes in your brushing routine will go a long way!

Remember to Floss!

We know…you probably don’t. Or hate when you do.

Flossing is not everyone’s favorite thing. We get that. But it is important. The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends flossing once a day. It sounds like a lot but it does make a major difference.

As your local dentists, we want your oral check-ups to be stress and anxiety-free. You know that scraping process you hate so much when you visit the dentist? Yeah…we’re not fans of it either. That’s us removing the tartar and plaque that built up in between your teeth and gums.

Taking 30 seconds a day to floss will save you from that long scraping session, and it will help protect your mouth for the years to come.

Choosing the Right Toothpaste

There is no one perfect toothpaste brand for all. Everyone is different, and everyone’s needs vary or change over time.

Check with our dentists about what brand of toothpaste will work best for your specific needs. For example, our dentists may recommend a toothpaste for teeth whitening, sensitive teeth, or children.

For a complete guide on recommended toothpaste brands, check out the ADA’s list of accepted over-the-counter products.

Ready for More Oral Health Tips?

We hope this guide to brushing your teeth at home comes in handy. For more information on oral health, feel free to reach out and contact us online, request an appointment, or call us at (586) 799-4240. The Shelby Township family dentists at Frank P. Ruffino DDS are here to service all your dental needs.

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