You brush your teeth two or three times a day (I hope) and after eating certain foods (hello, corn on the cob . . .). Your dentist or hygienist may have given you tips over the years (easy on the gums!), but have you ever stopped and considered whether you’re brushing your teeth correctly? It’s a fairly simple task, of course, but poor technique could lead to unclean, bacteria-ridden teeth that are prone to cavities and staining. So before you brush your teeth tonight, take a minute or two to read our tips and learn how to brush your teeth properly. Your canines, molars, and incisors will thank you!
How to Brush Your Teeth Properly
Use a 45° angle and back-and-forth motions. Brushing away from the gum line, tilt your brush to a 45° angle and begin brushing. This angle is softer on teeth and gums than a more direct, 90° angle. Continue gently brushing your teeth using short, back-and-forth motions.
Be gentle. Did you pay attention to the word gently in the last tip? Just in case you missed it, we would like to remind you to brush gently. If your toothbrush’s bristles become very quickly bent and ravaged, you’re clearly brushing too hard. Your dentist or hygienist might also remind you to brush gently if they see that your gums are receding or appear red and sore. If you have trouble brushing gently, you may want to try using an electric toothbrush.
Brush every tooth thoroughly. Brush the outer and inner surfaces of each tooth as well as the tops. In addition, pay attention to hard-to-reach areas (especially those hidden spots in the back of your mouth). To ensure that you’re not brushing lazily and consistently missing spots, try starting in a new place each time you brush. This will prevent the buildup of plaque.
Brush for two minutes. Yes, this will feel like a very long time. Try setting a timer on your phone tonight when you begin brushing your teeth. Brush your teeth as you normally would and then glance at the clock. You will probably be shocked at how quickly you typically brush your teeth, but continue brushing until you reach the full two minutes. Now that you know what it feels like to brush for two minutes, you’ll be able to repeat it in the future.
Replace your toothbrush. Remember to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or when you notice that the bristles are worn and fraying. An old, worn toothbrush simply can’t clean as well as a new one.
Don’t forget your tongue. Finally, don’t forget to brush your tongue using a back-to-front sweeping motion. It only takes a moment and in doing so, you will remove odor-causing bacteria and keep your breath smelling fresh.