As most dentists would say, the most important part of caring for the teeth happens at home as this is where children starts to learn the habit of brushing the teeth properly. Combined with regular dental check-ups, brushing the teeth properly guarantees no tooth decay and no gum disease.
The best way to prevent cavities is by brushing the teeth regularly and properly. But what does proper brushing of the teeth mean? For one, dentists say that brushing the teeth should take a minimum of two minutes and should be done twice a day. Brushing this way helps remove plaque which is a thin film of bacteria that gets stuck to the teeth that will cause cavity and gum disease if not removed. Hence, it is important that plaque is removed when brushing the teeth. The following are standard tips on proper brushing of the teeth:
- Use a good toothbrush. With soft nylon bristles which are gentle on the gums and a small enough head to reach all teeth easily. Hard bristles may hurt the gums and cause bleeding. Hard bristles can also damage the tooth enamel, which serves as the first line of defense of the tooth.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste. It helps remove plaque and strengthen the tooth enamel.
- Hold the toothbrush at an angle of 45 degrees against the gumline. Gently brush the teeth in short vertical or circular strokes. Hard brushing may lead to tooth sensitivity, receding gums and loose teeth, if constantly done. Brush all outside and inside surfaces of the teeth using short strokes.
- To clean the teeth, brush just a few teeth at a time. The mouth may be divided into four quadrants – top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right. Spending 30 seconds on each quadrant will fulfill the two minutes minimum brushing time recommended by the dentists. Use sweeping strokes and tip the bristles into the pits and crevices. To clean the inside surfaces of the top and bottom teeth, hold the brush almost vertical and brush with back and forth motions, bringing the front part of the brush over the teeth and gums.
- Brush the molars by holding the toothbrush perpendicular to the lips or let the bristles rest on top of the bottom molars. Work the toothbrush in an in-and-out motion and move from the back of the mouth to the front. When the bottom teeth are clean, flip the toothbrush over and work on the top molars.
- Gently brush the tongue by using the bristles of the toothbrush with a forward-sweeping motion. Brush the roof of the mouth in the same manner in order to remove the decay-causing bacteria that build up in these places.
- Rinse out the mouth by taking a sip of water from a disposable cup and swish it around the mouth and spit it out.
Additional tips on dental care:
- Using dental floss at least twice a day helps remove food stuck in between teeth. It is important to remove these small food particles as it causes bacterial growth.
- Brushing should be done before breakfast and last thing at night before bedtime.
- Don’t brush teeth straight after a meal as it can damage the teeth especially if foods eaten contain acid. Tooth enamel is softened by the acid and it can be worn away with brushing. It is recommended to wait an hour after a meal before brushing the teeth to enable the saliva to neutralize the acid.
- Choosing the right toothpaste is important in helping to remove plaque from the teeth. It is recommended that the toothpaste is checked for the fluoride content as follows:
- Children up to 3 years of age: a smear of toothpaste should contain no less than 1000 ppm (parts per million) fluoride
- Children 3 years up to 6 years of age: pea-sized toothpaste containing 1350 – 1500 ppm fluoride
- Adults: toothpaste should contain at least 1450 ppm fluoride
Tooth brushing and flossing is good to keep the teeth protected from plaque and tooth decay. But, visiting your dentist for total oral health care is suggested to keep those pearly whites at optimum condition. Your dentist can provide you with the best dental care you need to keep your teeth healthy. Visit our dental office in Mississauga to achieve the best state of your oral and dental care.