How to Brush Your Teeth Properly

dental hygiene

You've probably heard this all before. It might even have been repeated incessantly to you growing up. But then, good Dental Hygiene always is a mantra worth repeating.

Of course, the key to effectively brushing your teeth and maintaining good dental hygiene and gum health is to make it routine. Cara Mejia, RDA, Dental Hygiene Clinic Coordinator Assistant at Concorde - San Diego, has some brushing tips for the essential at-home routine.

"Brush with a soft toothbrush in a circular motion twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque from tooth surfaces," Mejia said. "Use gentle pressure when brushing your teeth to avoid injuring your gum tissue. Brush all surfaces of your teeth including the tongue to help prevent bad breath."

Following ADHA Dental Hygiene guidelines

The American Dental Hygienists Association published a standard checklist for proper brushing and effective dental hygiene. It suggests using a toothbrush with soft, nylon, round-ended bristles that will not scratch and irritate teeth or damage gums.

  • Place bristles along the gum line at a 45-degree angle. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gumline.
  • Gently brush the outer tooth surfaces of 2-3 teeth using a vibrating back and forth rolling motion. A rolling motion is when the brush makes contact with the gumline and is moved downward toward the chewing surface. Move brush to the next group of 2-3 teeth and repeat.
  • Maintain a 45-degree angle with bristles contacting the tooth surface and gumline. Gently brush using back, forth and rolling motion along all of the inner tooth surfaces.
  • Tilt brush vertically behind the front teeth. Make several up and down strokes using the front half of the brush.
  • Place the brush against the biting surface of the teeth and use a gentle back and forth scrubbing motion. Brush the tongue from back to front to remove odor-producing bacteria.

Other things to remember

According to the ADHA, it's important to remember to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Researchers have established that thousands of microbes grow on toothbrush bristles and handles. Most are harmless, but others can cause cold and flu viruses, the herpes virus that causes cold sores and bacteria that can cause periodontal infections.

Follow these steps and general rules, and you'll enjoy good Dental Hygiene, healthy teeth and gums and fresh breath!

Dental hygiene

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