Best Practices for Brushing Your Teeth | Comfort Care Dental
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September 24, 2014
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Most people develop the habit of brushing their teeth when they are still very young. Generally, parents begin to teach their children to brush their teeth as soon as that first baby tooth pops up. However, you might have gotten into an oral hygiene routine that does not incorporate all of the best practices of brushing your teeth. Correct and consistent teeth brushing is the most essential activity for maintaining the health and appearance of your teeth. This will also help prevent harmful gum diseases such as gingivitis, which leads to painful inflammation of the gums.

Brushing Your Teeth

The most common form of oral care is brushing your teeth. In order to get the most out of your brushing, be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day. This will keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh. The best way to go about brushing is to start on your top row of teeth and then move down to the bottom row. Try using short motions back-and-forth in order to brush away the maximum amount of tartar and bacteria. Remember not to neglect your gums and tongue either. Those fleshy parts of your mouth are just as important to brush as your teeth are. Every surface of your mouth should be getting brushed when you brush your teeth. Take extra care to reach around the back areas of your molars and around any fillings or dental work you have had done. These areas are great at trapping plaque and will start to decay if you aren’t careful.

People often brush their teeth too quickly and roughly, moving back and forth along their teeth. They wrongly believe that the harder and faster they brush, the cleaner their teeth will be in a shorter amount of time. This is the wrong way to brush, as it will lead to the erosion of your tooth enamel, which is a precious outer layer that protects your teeth. Damaging your tooth enamel can lead to premature tooth aging. This also misses those spaces between your teeth, where food can get stuck and plaque can build up. This kind of faulty brushing can also be detrimental to your gums.

Although two minutes doesn’t seem like a long time, many people find it difficult to brush their teeth for the recommended time of two minutes. However, if you are willing to take the time to adequately brush your teeth twice daily, you will find that your oral hygiene will be increased tremendously. Your teeth will be whiter, your breath will be fresher, and you will have less plaque and decay present.

Types of Toothbrushes and Toothpaste

Depositphotos_3614923_sWhen it comes to toothbrushes, many people feel that electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual toothbrushes. However, dentists have found that this effectiveness is nominal. Many people who use electric toothbrushes feel that they make brushing your teeth more fun, heightening the chances of brushing for the recommended amount of time and scouring all surfaces of your teeth.

If you do choose to use a manual toothbrush, be sure to get one that has soft bristles. Also, try to get one that fits comfortably in your hand and in your mouth. It is also important to replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. This ensures that you are only using your toothbrush while it remains effective. Using an old toothbrush to clean your teeth is like using a dirty rag to clean your hands—it won’t work. Also, frayed toothbrushes can cause damage to your gums.

If you are brushing your teeth for two minutes and with a good, reliable toothbrush, the toothpaste you use doesn’t really matter. Your mouth will be clean and fresh regardless of what your toothpaste claims to be great at. However, a fluoride-based toothpaste is recommended by dentists. Just make sure that you are taking your time and getting all the surfaces of your teeth and mouth clean when you brush your teeth twice a day.

To Understand How To Brush Your Teeth The Right Way, Be Sure To Follow These Steps

  1. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, and brush in small strokes directly against the gum line along all sections of your teeth.
  2. While holding the toothbrush flat, brush back and forth on the top and bottom of the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
  3. Hold the toothbrush vertically, and brush your front teeth in an up-and-down motion.
  4. Brush your tongue back and forth from front to back, cleaning off food and bacteria to freshen your breath.

Children should learn these same techniques as well, but remember that they should use only a small amount of fluoride toothpaste, no bigger than a grain of rice. After age six, they can use more. Be sure that their toothbrushes are replaced regularly, and that they are using soft-bristled children’s toothbrushes. Be sure to reach all areas of their mouth.

When teaching your children how to brush their teeth, there are some important techniques you should help them remember.

  • Spitting out their toothpaste so they don’t swallow it.
  • Angling the toothbrush correctly.
  • Remembering to brush all areas of their teeth.
  • Brushing their tongues correctly.

Dental Hygiene and Braces

Most of us have had or still have to wear braces or retainers at some point in our lives, and if we haven’t, there is a good chance our kids do. While they help keep our teeth straight and aligned, they can also attract food and plaque which needs to be removed promptly to avoid staining your or their teeth. Many dentists recommend brushing your teeth after every meal when you wear braces and even using the fluoride mouthwash afterward. It is recommended to brush up and down every tooth under braces with a regular toothbrush before a special proxabrush specifically designed to clean between two braces is used.

While braces can make it harder to floss, it is possible and just slightly more complicated and needs to be done to preserve the health of your teeth. You do it by easing the floss between the main archwire and the upper part of the tooth closest to the gum. Flossing needs to be done gently on the sides of both teeth the floss is between, making sure not to put too much force around the archwire.

Since retainers are removable, teeth hygiene is generally maintained as usual. However, it is very important to keep the retainer clean as well or all the brushing and flossing might be in vain. A retainer needs to be cleaned once a day by soaking it in a cup of warm water mixed with denture cleansers. It is necessary to rinse the retainer properly before reattaching it. It might seem like a lot of work, but keeping your teeth clean and healthy while wearing braces or retainers is imperative, and definitely worth it. You want everything in order so that once the devices are off you can finally show off your new smile to everybody immediately, without additional visits to the dentist.

How Do I Know If My Gums Aren’t Healthy?

Taking care of your gums is a very important part of your routine dental care. However, the gums seem to always take a backseat to other aspects of the mouth, like the teeth. While the teeth are generally the most visible part of your mouth, the gums are literally and figuratively the foundation of the teeth. In order to have a healthy mouth, you must start at the gums. At times, someone can be afflicted with some sort of gum disease, whether in its early or later stages and not be aware of the problems. While this can be the case, it is more likely that you will experience some of these symptoms if you have some form of gum disease present within your mouth:

  • bleeding gums
  • swollen or red gums
  • loose teeth
  • bad breath
  • abscesses
  • taste of metal
  • problems talking or swallowing
  • visible receding of gums
  • feeling ill with a possible fever

These symptoms, as you can tell, progress overtime if not take care of quickly. It is in your best interest to visit your dentist at the first sign of gum disease in order to stop major problems before they start.

Types of Gum Disease

There are three main types of gum disease, each one progressively more pronounced than the one previous.


mouth with bloody gums

Flossing your teeth regularly helps to keep both your teeth and gums clean of plaque. Without this, you could eventually find increased amounts of tartar building up on your teeth. If your teeth become overrun with large amounts of tartar and you don’t take the necessary steps to confront this problem, the bacteria could move from your teeth into your gums, and it could even reach as far as your jawbones. When these situations occur, it is called gingivitis (the less severe case that reaches the gums)  Generally, gingivitis occurs after your teeth have been exposed to food and bacteria without having those contaminates brushed away on a regular basis. This buildup can move from the surface of the teeth to beneath the gum line. Once this happens, the gums turn red and swollen, one of the signs that your gums are plagued with gingivitis.


Periodontitis is the next step up from gingivitis (the more severe case that reaches the jaw bone). This happens when the plaque and bacteria on and around your gums cause your gums to begin to pull away from your teeth. At this point, the plaque that has gotten into your gums is impossible to reach with a toothbrush. If this problem is not taken care of, both your gum tissue and your bones can begin to deteriorate, eventually leading to loss of teeth and extreme pain.

Acute Necrotising Ulcerative Gingivitis

Also referred to as ANUG or “trench mouth”, Acute Necrotising Ulcerative Gingivitis is a very severe type of gum disease. In order to rid your mouth of this type of gum disease, you must have a very regimented oral hygiene routine and take antibiotics.

How to Prevent Gum Diseases and Other Issues

Preventing gum disease is actually easier than you may think, and it is also much better for you than trying to counteract gum diseases after they have taken hold. By flossing your teeth, you are ridding your mouth of the food or other items that rest between your teeth and gums. This is a proactive measure to prevent gum disease. Visiting your dentist regularly, brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing between your teeth at least every other day, using an antiseptic mouthwash, and quitting smoking are some of the most common and effective ways to keep your mouth healthy and your smile pearly white.

A Brighter, Whiter Smile

Comfortable Dental PatientWith the added clean your teeth experience from flossing, you will witness brighter, whiter teeth. With less plaque and other particles sticking to your teeth anymore, it is only natural that your teeth will look and feel stronger and healthier. Getting the top layers of plaque and other staining agents off your teeth will help make your dental care seem more apparent to the naked eye. Instead of spending a large sum of money on getting your teeth professionally whitened, just start making flossing a real part of your daily routine.

To have the greatest results from flossing your teeth, do it before you brush. This gets rid of any food or other particles that have lodged themselves between your teeth and allows for your toothbrush and mouthwash to affect a greater surface area of your mouth because more parts of your teeth are exposed. You can still reap multiple benefits from flossing your teeth after brushing, but your brushing will be even more effective if it is completed after you floss.

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