Brushing your teeth is one of the simplest tasks, right? We practise twice a day, every day of the year, and as you know practice makes perfect. However, research shows that we may not be doing the best job of it, or in some cases we may not be brushing our teeth at all.
How many of us properly brush our teeth?
Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste before you go to bed and at least one other time during the day, will help you keep your teeth in the best possible condition. Cleaning the teeth surfaces and in between them is important because it removes lingering food particles and bacteria that could lead to plaque. The build-up of plaque, aside from causing hygiene problems, could lead to more serious cases of tooth decay and gum disease.
However a study from White Glo, found that 40% of us in the UK don’t brush their teeth every day. And even for those that do, research from the British Dental Health Foundation found that on average people only brush their teeth for 45 seconds – less than half the recommended time.
It seems that our less than perfect personal teeth cleaning routines might impact on more than just our dental health. In the same Whit Glo study found that 41% of people surveyed don’t show their teeth in photos as they’re concerned about the state of them.
So, here are some expert tips on taking proper care of your teeth and gums and how to brush them effectively:
- Make sure you brush your teeth for two minutes
When you’re running late for work or you’re in a hurry to get to bed, you may think to cut down on time brushing your teeth, as any clean is better than none. Many of us are also distracted when brushing our teeth, paying attention to the children or looking at our mobile phones. However it’s vital to take the time and care and spend a full two minutes brushing your teeth, twice a day. If not properly removed, the layer of plaque can react with sugary foods and produce an acid which attacks the tooth enamel creating a cavity or hole.
- Wait longer after eating before you brush
Again, although time may be of the essence in the morning, cleaning your teeth soon after eating could damage the enamel on your teeth which protects them. If you’re consuming sugary or acidic foods and drinks which soften the enamel, and then brush straight away, you could be gradually wearing down your enamel and make your teeth sensitive. It takes up to an hour for your mouth to cancel out the acid caused by sugary foods and drinks, meaning that if you can it’s best to wait an hour before brushing your teeth.
- Don’t brush so hard
Brushing your teeth hard doesn’t mean that you’ll get a more effective clean. Brushing teeth too hard can damage the soft tissues of the gum and cause the gum to wear away. When cleaning your teeth, brush lightly, using short circular movements to gently sweep the toothbrush bristles over the teeth.
- You don’t need to rinse after brushing
Fluoride put into toothpaste is an essential mineral for preventing tooth decay. The fluoride left in your saliva after brushing will work to keep teeth clean and plaque levels down even after you’re finished brushing. That’s why it’s important not to rinse your mouth out with water afterwards, as this will dilute the fluoride concentration in your mouth and prevent it from fully helping to protect your teeth.
- Thoroughly brush your back teeth
Although you may be more concerned about your front teeth looking shiny white and ship-shape, your back teeth are used frequently for chewing and are key culprits for lurking food debris. Ensure that you clean all the surfaces of your teeth – the teeth right at the back, the backs of all teeth and in between them. If you have any crowns or fillings, be sure to carefully clean around them. As you have a full two minutes to do this, think about breaking up your brushing into sections, first brushing the outer surfaces, then inner surfaces and finally the top chewing surfaces of the teeth.
If you’re worried about the health of your teeth and gums or you’d like more advice on properly caring for them, the highly experienced Riverside Dental Spa team can help you with a range of dental and hygiene services. By coming to us for routine dental examinations or dental hygienist visits alongside looking after your oral health on a daily basis, we can help you keep your teeth for life. Call us today on 020 7091 0677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and book your appointment.