7 brushing habits to break in 2017

Resolving to maintain better oral health in the new year? The ADA has published tips on breaking bad brushing habits in 2017.

Here is a summary of some of the advice:

  • How old is your toothbrush? It should be replaced every 3 to 4 months, according to the ADA consumer website, MouthHealthy.org. When a brush's bristles appear to be frayed and broken — that's a good sign it's time to replace it, preferably with a toothbrush that has earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
  • Most people brush their teeth for 45 seconds, but the optimal time for brushing is a full two minutes a day, twice per day, according to MouthHealthy.org.
  • Ease up! According to MouthHealthy.org, some people brush their teeth harder than they need to for an effective cleaning. "Too much pressure may wear down the hard outer shell on your teeth and damage your gums," according to the website.
  • Brushing after a meal is a good idea, but wait at least 30 minutes, especially if you enjoyed something acidic, such as lemons or soda. MouthHealthy.org recommends chewing sugarless gum or drinking water while waiting to brush.
  • Don't keep your toothbrush in a closed container. Store toothbrushes upright and let them dry in the open air so that germs can't grow so easily.
  • Just like brushing too hard, using a toothbrush with hard bristles can wear down the outer shell of teeth. Choose a brush with soft bristles.

For more information and tips for keeping teeth clean effectively, and other oral health topics such as oral health care for children and babies, nutrition information and a symptom checker that can help patients identify possible conditions and treatments, visit MouthHealthy.org.

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