Everyone wants a healthy, beautiful smile. And while there are countless products available that are marketed for improving your dental health, your smile starts with one simple thing: your tooth brushing technique.
The true key to maintaining a beautiful smile is your oral care routine at home. And at the core of that routine is giving your teeth a thorough brushing at least twice a day.
With the right brushing technique, keeping your teeth clean, healthy, and white is easy. On the other hand, if you don’t have a great technique, you’re likely missing key areas of food buildup and bacteria. Those missed areas can easily progress into plaque, your tooth nemesis. Plaque buildup will slowly eat away at your teeth and cause cavities.
Suffice to say that having the right tooth brushing technique is a powerful tool to have in your oral care toolbox.
Types of Brushing Techniques
Did you know that there are different techniques you can use to brush your teeth? It’s true! And there are even names for them. There’s the Bass method, Charter’s method, Modified Stillman method, and more.
However, the most popular and widely recommended technique is the Bass method. In fact, this is the method that our doctors use and teach to our patients.
Here are our step-by-step directions for the Bass method:
- Start by placing the toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle on the front surface of the back teeth. Move the toothbrush in small circular motions. Make sure that you brush the tooth and especially the area where the tooth meets the gums.
- With this circular motion, slowly move forward towards the front teeth. Don’t rush!! Be sure to take your time and clean off all food debris and plaque. If you are having the problems with the brush fitting in your mouth, angle it vertically and continue to brush at a 45-degree angle the front surface and gum line.
- Continue to move around the arch and cover the back teeth on the opposite side.
- Repeat these steps with the back of the teeth as well (the side of the teeth that is closest to the tongue)
- Next, place the toothbrush bristles on the chewing surfaces of the teeth (known in the dental world as the occlusal surface).
- Move the toothbrush back in forth in a “scrubbing motion”. Be sure to brush the chewing surfaces of all teeth, even the front teeth.
- Rinse your toothbrush, place on tongue, and gently run the bristles over your tongue. The tongue can also harbor bacteria and cavity-causing germs and must be cleaned as well.
Brushing For The Full Two Minutes
Dental professionals like the ones here at Smile Street Dental recommend that you brush your teeth for a total of two full minutes, however, many people find it difficult to meet that marker. In an effort to make things a bit easier, you can split your technique into brushes in three stages, each of which lasting about 40 seconds. The three stages include:
- The outside of your teeth
- The inside of your teeth
- The chewing surfaces
And don’t forget your tongue, too! If you split your brushing up into these three key parts and count to 40 in each stage, you’ll soon find that reaching the ideal brushing time of two minutes is easier than you think.
Making Sure You Have the Right Toothbrush
There are so many toothbrushes out there to choose from, so how do you know when you’re getting the correct brush? Let’s break it down.
The best manual toothbrush is one that has soft bristles and a small head. The softer the bristles, the more gentle they are on the gums while also being highly effective at penetrating the areas between your teeth for hard to reach particles and bacteria.
A brush with a small head makes it easier for you to reach all of the teeth located in the far back of your mouth, giving you a more complete brushing than you could achieve with a larger head.
Electric toothbrushes are another great option. These toothbrushes allow you to brush away more plaque than a traditional toothbrush. Electic options are very affordable and easy to access today and you can get them for the whole family.
Choosing the Right Toothpaste
Similar to the way your selection of toothbrush choices at your local drug store can make your head spin, there are also many different kinds of toothpaste to choose from. A general toothpaste will do just fine, but there are some more specified options that you may find suite your needs better.
For example, if you have sensitive teeth, a toothpaste designed to treat sensitivity can help make brushing a lot more tolerable. If you need help with cavity control, there are tubes of toothpaste designed specifically to help prevent cavities. And while we all want a whiter, brighter smile, be wary of some whitening toothpaste options as they can wear away at the enamel of your teeth, weakening them and causing new problems.
Don’t Forget to Floss!
While using the proper tooth brushing technique is essential to your oral health success, you can’t forget to floss. Flossing is the best and often only way to reach those tough spaces where food and bacteria get stuck in your teeth. Even the best toothbrush in the world can’t reach some places, making floss an absolute necessity when it comes to the health of your teeth. Flossing can be done once per day and should follow your brushing routine.
At Smile Street Dental, our dentists are committed to making sure that you have a smile that lasts a lifetime, so if you have any questions or concerns about your oral care routine and how you can improve it, be sure to get in touch so we can help.
With proper tooth brushing and regular trips to our office for checkups, you can make sure that your mouth stays healthy and brilliant as can be. We look forward to seeing you in our office soon!