How to Brush your Teeth
What does painting a picket fence have to do with brushing your teeth? According to a Vancouver dentist it’s quite simple. You can’t do a good paint job on a closely-picketed fence unless you accept that the gaps in between need special attention, and you can’t do both sides at once. The same applies to brushing your teeth.
For teeth the brush is a lot smaller, you can’t possibly use a roller, and there are two little fences involved, one of them upside down. However, the principle still applies. Neither of these processes can be hurried, and a backwards and forwards motion is simply not going to work.
The benefits of cleaning your teeth
- Cleaning your teeth properly helps reduce cavities and the risk of gum disease by removing debris and plaque from the surfaces and between the teeth. It also gives you a better chance of keeping your own teeth into old age.
- Clean teeth can also prevent the enamel on your teeth from thinning or weakening which can leave your teeth sensitive to hot and cold.
So how to do it correctly? Like painting the fence, it needs to be done with the right tools, the right preparation and the right intention and method.
Use the right tools:
Your toothbrush should be soft. A hard one, especially if applied with too much force, can damage the enamel and cause injury to the gums. The brush should be replaced every three months.
To clean between the teeth use either dental floss or the small interdental brush. Dentists differ as to which is more effective, so see which works best for you.
A Vancouver dentist Katy Shayesteh recommends brushing at least twice a day. It should be a part of your daily routine and allocated dedicated time of about 2 minutes for each session. Rushing is almost as bad as not brushing at all – chances are you’ll attack your teeth with force and speed, miss areas and possibly cause damage.
Break the two minutes into four 30 second spells allocated to different sections of the teeth. Remember to pay attention to the back and front of both the top and bottom teeth. Alternate the order in which you brush the sections so each gets equal attention.
The cleaning process:
Holding your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gums, brush gently up and down, using short strokes. Clean outer surfaces first, then inner ones, of both sets of teeth. Finish by cleaning the chewing surface.
Don’t ignore the molars at the back and pay special attention to the gum line and areas around fillings, crowns and implants.
Clean between your teeth once a day. Use an interdental brush or a piece of floss about 18 inches long. Wrap most around the middle finger of one hand and a little round the middle finger of the other. Slide it carefully between each tooth in turn. Holding it in a C-shape against the side of the tooth, work up from the gum line pulling it back and forth as you go. Remember both sides of each tooth and don’t forget the molars at the back.
Roll off new floss from the bigger finger supply and roll the used section onto the finger with less floss on it, before cleaning each tooth.