Regular brushing can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, as well as ensuring your mouth stays fresh, but it’s important to make sure you brush your teeth correctly for adequate plaque and food removal.
Pick a medium bristled brush as this will remove plaque and debris but will not erode tooth enamel. A small headed brush is also preferable as it can get into all those hard to reach areas of the mouth.
A manual toothbrush is perfectly adequate but an electric toothbrush may be useful if you find it hard to brush your teeth or have limited manual dexterity. Replace your brush at least once every three months but if you have been ill, it’s a good idea to change it to avoid reinfection.
- You should brush at least twice a day, especially before bed. Brush for at least two minutes to make sure you do a thorough job. It can help if you divide your mouth into four sections and spend 30 seconds on each area.
- According to Dental Advisory bodies the use of toothpaste that contains fluoride can strengthen enamel, and don’t rinse your mouth straight away so the fluoride has a chance to work. If you have tooth sensitivity, you can use a toothpaste that is specially designed to treat this.
- Place your toothbrush at a 45° angle along the gum line and use short, gentle strokes. Brush the inside surface of each tooth, the chewing surface and behind the teeth. Remember to pay particular attention to the gum line, and the areas around fillings and crowns. Don’t forget to give your tongue a brush to get rid of bacteria.
More teeth cleaning tips
- Don’t forget to clean between your teeth with floss, tape or interdental sticks. Mouthwash and tongue scrapers can be added to your routine to ensure an extra fresh, plaque-free mouth.
- If a toothbrush isn’t available, rinse your mouth with water or chew sugar-free gum.
Cleaning little teeth
- Remember to encourage the younger members of your family to develop the brushing habit, but make sure you supervise them until they are old enough to clean their teeth independently.
- As soon as your child’s teeth start to appear, start brushing them with a soft toothbrush and smear of toothpaste. When children are aged 3-6 years, you should use a pea-sized amount.
- From around age 7-8, children should be able to brush their own teeth, but you should still keep an eye on their technique. Use a timer to ensure they brush for long enough.
Tongue cleaning should form a daily part of oral hygiene routine. It is best achieved with simple dedicated implement.