You might think that you’re taking good care of your teeth, brushing them the same way you always have. But many British adults are making at least one major tooth-brushing mistake.
Advice on the best way to care for your teeth is constantly evolving. There have been many developments over the past few years; the introduction of fluoride to water systems, electric toothbrushes and many different sorts of mouthwash. Are you up to date on the best way to keep your mouth healthy?
Brushing for two minutes: fact or fiction?
While many people think you should just be brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, this isn’t entirely correct. Rather than a limit, two minutes is a recommended minimum; you really need to be brushing as long as you need to to make your mouth feel fully clean. The average adult in the UK only brushes their teeth for forty-five seconds which probably goes some way towards explaining why rates of tooth decay are so high at present.
What order should I be brushing my teeth in?
You might think that the best order for your dental routine is to brush, then floss and rinse with mouthwash. But you might not realise that brushing your teeth actually serves two functions: cleaning the bacteria from your teeth and applying fluoride to protect your teeth. You actually need to start your routine by cleaning between the teeth, both with floss and with an interproximal or ‘TePe’ brush to access all of the nooks and crannies.
When you’ve cleaned all of the debris from between your teeth, clean your teeth using the dry brushing technique mentioned below and then rinse your mouth out with fluoride mouthwash for about thirty seconds. Don’t rinse your mouth out with water at any point as this undoes everything you’ve just done and washes the protective fluoride coating away.
Why is dry brushing the best way to brush my teeth?
Dry brushing is the best way to brush your teeth but many people aren’t aware of it. It can feel a little unnatural at first but it is a good way of making sure your teeth have the chance to absorb fluoride from your toothpaste.
When you add water to toothpaste, it foams up so you spit it out far sooner. You need the toothpaste to stay in contact with your teeth as long as possible while you brush to help them become stronger and more resistant to decay. This is especially necessary in areas without fluoridated water such as Stonehouse as you are exposed to less fluoride.
Put a pea-sized blob of toothpaste onto a dry toothbrush and use it to smear toothpaste around every part of your mouth before you begin to brush. Brush in a circular motion, covering the entirety of your mouth; make sure you cover the ‘problem’ areas, such as the teeth right at the back of your mouth. Some people find it easiest to clean their mouth a quarter at a time, or brush all of the outsides first, followed by the insides.
If you take good care of your teeth, watch out for sugary foods in your diet and brush twice a day for at least two minutes, you should significantly reduce your risk of decay.