Combing your hair, washing your face, brushing your teeth –mindlessly going through the motions of your daily routine is second nature. But are you using the proper teeth-brushing technique? Pay attention to these details and follow our steps to fight plaque, clean your teeth, and keep your smile healthy.

From breaking down food to toothy greeting smiles, your pearly whites play a vital role in daily life. Take care of them by implementing these teeth-brushing tips.

The Proper Way to Brush Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth helps remove plaque and germs that continually form on teeth and around the gumline. When not removed regularly, plaque can lead to cavities and even periodontal disease. A proper brushing technique can protect teeth. Follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Start with the outer surfaces of your teeth. Take your time! Gently brush the upper and then lower teeth. Going tooth by tooth can help you slow down and not miss any spots.
  • Step 2: Tilt your brush at a 45° angle. Brush against the gumline to get rid of any trapped plaque or food debris. Gently move the brush back and forth using short, tooth-wide strokes.
  • Step 3: Brush the inner surface of your teeth. Because the insides of your teeth are not as visible, skipping them is tempting –but these inner surfaces are just as vulnerable to plaque. Use a 45° angle to brush back and forth to clean the inside surfaces of the teeth.
  • Step 4: Clean the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Don't forget to use short back and forth strokes to brush the tops of your back teeth, where food can easily get trapped.
  • Step 5: Brush your tongue. For fresher breath, brush your tongue to remove odour-causing germs.

Tips for Better Toothbrushing

Implementing the right technique for brushing your teeth is an excellent start to proper oral hygiene. Make sure you also have the right tools and are avoiding common mistakes. Here are the answers to some frequent teeth-brushing questions:

  • How long and how often should I brush my teeth? Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. Set a stopwatch or timer to make sure you're giving your teeth enough attention.
  • What type of toothbrush should I use? The Oral Hygiene Association of South Africa (OHASA) cautions against buying a hard toothbrush. A soft-bristled brush will effectively remove plaque and food debris. A toothbrush with a small head can better reach all areas of the mouth. An electric toothbrush is a good option for those with difficulty brushing or limited manual dexterity.
  • What toothpaste should I use? From fighting cavities and whitening teeth to improving sensitivity, different toothpaste types are available depending on your particular needs. Having trouble deciding? Talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about which toothpaste is right for you.
  • Can I overbrush my teeth? Yes, overbrushing teeth is possible, so make sure you are using a gentle touch when wielding your toothbrush. Overly vigorous brushing can lead to abrasion, gum recession, and sensitivity.
  • How often should I replace my toothbrush? Replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear, or every three to four months, whichever comes first. Change your toothbrush after any illness to help avoid reinfection.

Nobody wants to deal with the pain and costs of tooth cavities and other dental problems. Begin implementing preventative oral care with the proper brushing technique. With daily flossing and regular visits to the dentist, correctly brushing your teeth can keep your smile fresh, healthy, and happy.

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