An effective oral hygiene routine starts with a few simple steps:
A proper brushing technique is the first step to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Plus, it helps minimize the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, the major causes of tooth loss.
While there are several tooth brushing techniques with a manual toothbrush, always ask your dental professional for their recommendation and be sure to follow their instructions. To start, use fluoride toothpaste with a soft-bristle toothbrush, and don't forget to replace it every three months.
To brush your teeth correctly, spend at least two minutes using a recommended brushing technique, which includes 30 seconds brushing each section of your mouth (upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left), both morning and night. Since most manual toothbrushes don't have built-in two-minute timers, you may want to have a clock handy so you can be sure you're brushing long enough.
How you hold the toothbrush depends on which part of the tooth you're brushing.
Step 1: Start with outer and inner surfaces, and brush at a 45-degree angle in short, half-tooth-wide strokes against the gum line. Make sure you reach your back teeth.
Step 2: Move on to chewing surfaces. Hold the brush flat and brush back and forth along these surfaces.
Step 3: Once you get to the inside surfaces of your front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and use gentle up-and-down strokes with the tip of brush.
Step 4: Be sure to brush gently along the gum line.
Step 5: Brush your tongue in a back-to-front sweeping motion to remove food particles and help remove odor-causing bacteria to freshen your breath.
Now that you've learned proper brushing technique, a little discipline in practicing it every day will help make it feel like second nature. It's one of the easiest things you can do to maintain the health of your teeth and gums.
Proper brushing and flossing technique as part of your daily oral care routine are the most important components in the fight to keep your teeth plaque free – and protecting your teeth and gums for a lifetime.