5 Brushing Habits You Should Pick Up

You only get one set of teeth. While teeth are naturally strong, they’re not impervious to damage, decay, and disease. Maintaining a beautiful, healthy smile requires a lifetime of dedicated care.

Bacteria collect on food particles trapped between teeth as you eat throughout the day. This causes plaque buildup, which leads to tartar, tooth decay, and gingivitis if it’s not removed. 

But oral health care doesn’t have to be complicated. Brushing your teeth every day is a simple way to ensure you’re taking care of your teeth.

Here at Millenium Dental, Beatriz Parra, DDS and our dental team work with people of all ages to establish healthy oral habits. Read on to learn our five top tips for brushing to promote strong, healthy teeth.

1. Brush twice a day

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth two times a day. Brushing twice helps remove plaque before it hardens into sticky tartar and leads to tooth decay. Brush your teeth when you wake up or a few hours after eating breakfast, and make a habit of brushing every night before you go to bed.

Don’t brush your teeth for at least one hour after you eat a meal. Eating can elevate acid levels in your mouth, which temporarily weakens the enamel on your teeth. Brushing teeth too soon after eating can damage enamel.

2. Brush for two minutes

Don’t rush through brushing your teeth. Brushing too fast increases the chances that you’ll miss a spot and leave behind some harmful bacteria.

Brush your teeth for about two minutes every time. Estimating how long two minutes is can be challenging, and many people brush for only 45 seconds. Consider using a timer or listening to a song that’s two minutes long while you brush.

3. Use light pressure

A common misconception is that brushing your teeth harder makes brushing more effective. But scrubbing teeth with a heavy hand doesn’t remove bacteria better. The truth is that putting too much pressure on your toothbrush can damage gums. 

Strive to brush teeth with a gentle touch. With a good toothbrush, light pressure and short back-and-forth strokes across teeth is all that’s needed to remove food particles and bacteria.

4. Angle your toothbrush 45°

Take care to angle your toothbrush properly when you brush your teeth. The bristles should be at a 45° angle to your gums. Don’t align the bristles parallel to your teeth. Instead, tilt the toothbrush head gentle downward toward gums.

The angle helps you remove bacteria and plaque buildup that collects where your gums and teeth meet. Be sure to brush the outsides, insides, and chewing surfaces of all your teeth.

5. Change your toothbrush regularly

When was the last time you got a new toothbrush? You should replace the brush or brush head every three months, because bristles break down over time. After a few months, the toothbrush isn’t as effective at removing bacteria and plaque.

Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles. Hard-bristled toothbrushes are often too abrasive on teeth and contribute to receding gum lines. If you use an electric toothbrush, you may be able to purchase replacement brush heads without replacing the entire toothbrush.

Brushing your teeth twice a day is the first step to a comprehensive oral health care routine, but it’s not the only step. Visit the dentist every six months for a professional dental cleaning to remove tough plaque buildup. 

Dr. Parra and our dental team are here to help you care for your teeth, whether you’re in the office for a cleaning or simply brushing your teeth every day. To schedule an appointment, call our office or book online.

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