Ins and outs of how to brush your teeth

How Long and Hard Should You Brush Your Teeth?

So how exactly should you brush? Read on to find out!

We all know the importance of brushing our teeth two times per day, especially after meals. But, do we know how to brush our teeth, how long we should brush each time, and how hard to press those bristles against our pearly whites? Unfortunately, the answer for most people to these questions is no. So, check out our suggestions on how long and hard you should brush your teeth and see your smile start to improve.

How many times a day should you brush your teeth?

It would be best if you brush your teeth twice per day, especially after meals. In most cases, the best time to brush your teeth is after breakfast and after dinner before you go to bed. This ensures that food particles from the first meal of the day don’t sit on your teeth for hours before your next meal. And brushing before bed ensures that you sleep with a healthy and clean mouth.

When we don’t brush our teeth twice per day, we fail to adequately remove plaque and bacteria that lead to gum disease. Even worse, failure to brush can lead to cavities and tooth loss.

For how long should you brush your teeth each time?

It’s recommended by most dentists that you brush for a minimum of two minutes each time. But this doesn’t mean you should brush and brush for minutes on end. Between two to three minutes per brushing should be sufficient. So, try one of these strategies to make sure you get in enough time each time you brush your teeth.

  1. Sing happy birthday to yourself twenty times each time you brush. It might seem like a lot, but with an average of ten seconds per song, you’ll know you’re getting in enough brushing time.
  2. Set a timer to make sure you brush for a full two minutes.
  3. Use a powered toothbrush that automatically accounts for two minutes of brushing time before it turns off. A powered toothbrush is a great way to show your teeth some love.
  4. If you need help getting your kids to brush their teeth long enough, consider a sticker chart in the bathroom. Play a fun two-minute toothbrushing song for your child on your mobile device, then let them place a sticker on the chart every time they brush long enough.

Though there are risks to not brushing your teeth long enough, brushing for too long can also have adverse consequences. For example, brushing for too long can lead to or irritate gum disease and a tooth infection, possibly leading to tooth loss, which might require oral surgery.

What is the proper technique for brushing your teeth?

The technique you use when brushing your teeth is almost as important as the frequency and duration. For example, most family dentists will suggest a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent gum damage. A soft-bristled brush is the best toothbrush to use and is often the most comfortable and safest choice. Medium- to hard-bristled toothbrushes can damage your gums, the root surface, and your protective tooth enamel.

When brushing, the head of your toothbrush should be placed with the tips of the toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle to your gumline. Move your toothbrush using short strokes in a circular scrubbing motion, several times in each spot. Whatever you do, don’t saw back and forth across the teeth, as this technique simply pushes food particles between the teeth. Be sure to apply gentle pressure so the bristles can be felt against your gums. If your toothbrush bristles appear squashed when you are done, you can assume you are brushing too hard.

If you apply too much pressure, you may also slowly erode the enamel of your teeth. Unfortunately, this can’t repair itself, and you may find that you have more dental sensitivity and an increased risk of cavities as a result. Not only that but if you brush your teeth too hard, it can cause your gum tissue to shrink back.

How long should you wait to brush your teeth after consuming acidic food and beverages?

If you have consumed citrus fruits and juices, wine, berries, tomatoes, or even milk-based products such as yogurt, sour cream, and aged cheeses, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. Brushing your teeth too soon after eating these acidic foods can damage your enamel.

Make a trip to the dentist part of your oral hygiene routine.

Knowing how to brush your teeth and following through with it are vital steps in your oral hygiene routine; however, it is essential not to overlook a trip to the dentist at least twice per year. Valley Dental Clinic makes it easy to request an appointment by using our online form. 

Once your appointment has been confirmed, you can plan your visit and know what to expect. We offer dentistry for the entire family, so if you have been looking for a family dentist near Anchorage, then you have come to the right place.

During your visit, we’ll clean your teeth, check for any oral health concerns, and discuss proper techniques on how to brush your teeth. But more importantly, we’ll get to know you and show you why so many patients in Anchorage choose Valley Dental Clinic as their family dentist.

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