Whether you have braces, Invisalign or are currently braces-free, there’s a good chance you may not be brushing your teeth correctly. But don’t feel bad! Did you know that nearly 30% of Americans aren’t doing enough brushing and most people make mistakes when it comes to their daily oral care routine?
Brushing your teeth helps remove plaque and bacteria that can cause tooth decay. The right type of brushing can also help with stains that are caused by certain foods and beverages. If you want to enjoy a great smile and healthy teeth, it’s important to understand how to properly take care of your pearly whites.
Dr. Labbe and his team of expert orthodontists have six helpful tips on how to brush to avoid brushing improperly.
- You Never Replace Your Toothbrush – Over time, the bristles will lose their effectiveness to remove plaque and stains from your teeth. Dr. Labbe’s team recommends that you replace your toothbrush at least every six months. (BUT! If you notice that the bristles aren’t in tiptop shape replace it sooner, don’t delay!)
- You Brush Too Hard – Applying an excessive amount of pressure when you brush can cause more harm than good. (Uh oh!) You can scratch the enamel on the teeth and damage the gum tissue. If you notice your gums are sore or bleeding after brushing, you are probably using too much force. Make sure to be gentle and let our team know if the discomfort doesn’t decrease after you implement this tip!
- You Do Not Brush Long Enough – Most people don’t spend enough time when it comes to brushing their teeth. It’s not a race! You should brush each quadrant (upper left, lower left, upper right, lower right) and the tops of the teeth for about thirty seconds each. And don’t forget about your tongue and gums. (Here’s a fun challenge: Recite the alphabet in your head, while brushing, and once you get to Z (no cheating) you’re in the clear!)
- You Brush in the Same Pattern – If you always start brushing your teeth in the same spot, chances are those teeth are getting the most love! All teeth are created equal so make sure you vary your pattern of brushing to ensure all of your teeth are getting the attention they need.
- You Are Not Brushing Enough – Do you only brush when you wake up? Brushing only once a day in the morning can be damaging to your oral health. Remember to brush twice a day to get rid of food particles, plaque, or bacteria before you go to bed and when you’re getting ready for your day.
- You Are Using the Wrong Motions – Even though it may be what you’re used to, brushing back and forth is not as effective as you might think! This motion will only allow you to cover the surface of your teeth, but what about in-between? It’s better to brush in small circular movements no bigger than the size of each tooth. TIP: If you find it too difficult to make circular patterns with a regular toothbrush, try an electric one with a round rotating dental head.
For most people, brushing twice a day is just right! However, if you have braces or use Invisalign, your orthodontist may recommend you brush more often. And every time you do – make sure to refer to the tips and tricks above.
If you are concerned about how your teeth look, remember Labbe Family Orthodontics is here to help. We offer several different orthodontic solutions to help you achieve a beautiful smile! Call our office at 410-267-7300 today to schedule a complimentary consultation appointment.