Is the Right Way to Brush?

Proper brushing
takes at least two minutes — that’s right, 120 seconds! Most adults do not come
close to brushing that long. To get a feel for the time involved, try using a stopwatch.
To properly brush your teeth, use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention
to the gumline,
hard-to-reach back teeth and areas around fillings,
or other restoration. Concentrate on thoroughly cleaning
each section as follows:

  • Clean the
    outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
  • Clean the
    inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
  • Clean the
    chewing surfaces
  • For
    fresher breath, be sure to brush your tongue, too

What Type of Toothbrush Should I Use?
Most dental professionals agree that a soft-bristled brush is best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth. Small-headed brushes are also preferable, since they can better reach all areas of the mouth, including hard-to-reach back teeth. For many, a powered toothbrush is a good alternative. It can do a better job of cleaning teeth, particularly for those who have difficulty brushing or who have limited manual dexterity.

The American Dental Association does not endorse either a manual or electric toothbrush. In fact, electric and manual toothbrushes can have the same effectiveness if used properly. Electric toothbrushes do have a better maneuvering power; they can get around the gums and sides of teeth better. Electric toothbrushes are also an agent in the removal of plague. However, the decision-making factors for electric or manual would be in cost and features that appeal to you.

Manual Toothbrush: The manual toothbrush is the teeth-brushing method most are accustomed to. The manual toothbrush has a plastic handle with nylon bristles on the head of the toothbrush. The manual toothbrush comes in many bristle styles and could have some special features.

The manual toothbrush can come in the following formats: crisscrossed, extra-long, multi-level bristles; polished, rounded bristle tips; textured bristles; cupped-bristle to enhance whitening; erogonmic handles with special grips; tapered or angled brush head; gum stimulators; and tongue cleaner pads.

Electric Toothbrush: The electric or power toothbrush is part of the new wave of technology. The toothbrush has a rechargeable battery case that can be plugged into any outlet. Many of the electric toothbrush features are hi-tech and could promote better brushing habits.

Some of the hi-tech features of the electric toothbrush include: various brushing modes, some for sensitive teeth or whitening and gum massaging features; pressure signals to indicate when brushing too hard; timers to time the length of brushing each quadrant of the mouth; digital reminders to alert when it is time to change toothbrush head; oscillating-rotating or sonic technology; and compatible brushing heads to choose the best bristle type for each person.

How Important is the Toothpaste I Use?
It is important that you use a toothpaste that’s right for you. Today there is a wide variety of toothpaste designed for many conditions, including cavities, gingivitis, tartar, stained teeth and sensitivity. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist which toothpaste is right for you.

How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?
You should replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear, or every three months, whichever comes first. It is also very important to change toothbrushes after you’ve had a cold, since the bristles can collect germs that can lead to re-infection.