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Better Brushing Habits

By Dr. Tina Mukai, Premier Dental Group HI Waipahu

Mom and son brushing their teethNaturally, along with seeing your dentist regularly, brushing your teeth daily is one of the best actions you can take to keep your teeth in tip-top shape. But are you brushing as well as you could or as long as you should?

Two Minutes Each Time, Twice a Day

We always recommend that patients brush their teeth at least twice a day (morning and night) for two minutes each time. Brushing for two minutes ensures that you will reach all of the surfaces of your teeth and therefore remove all of the plaque. It is also essential to remember to brush all the way around the last teeth in the back. Those are the areas where we find many people tend to miss and leave the plaque behind.

Get the Gums Too

We recommend that you brush with a 45-degree angle at the gumline to remove the plaque along the gums. In order to protect your teeth and gums from wear, it is best to use a circular motion with your toothbrush vs. scrubbing it back and forth. Make sure that the gums are getting a thorough yet gentle massage with the toothbrush. Many times we are brushing our teeth but not focusing on the gum area.

Don’t Forget Your Tongue

The tongue harbors bacteria due to its rough surface so it is very important to brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. Brushing it will remove the bacteria which will in turn keep your breath much more fresh.

Electric Is Best

Check out any toothbrush aisle at the store and you’ll find a dizzying array of options. We recommend using an electric toothbrush as it does the best job of cleaning because it reaches slightly deeper beneath your gums than a regular toothbrush. It is usually evident to us which patients are using an electric toothbrush when they come in for their cleanings. Most of the time they will have healthier gums, less tartar buildup and less gum bleeding.

Many electric toothbrushes have a timer that will buzz every 30 seconds to motivate you to brush for the full two minutes. Another benefit of an electric toothbrush is that it does the work for you so you don’t have to worry as much about your technique.

Soft Is Second

As electric toothbrushes are more expensive and don’t fit into everyone’s budget, a regular soft toothbrush is also a good choice. In the past, the school of thought was to use a medium or harder bristle brush to get the job done, but we now know that such a brush does more damage than good to your teeth and gums. In fact, using a toothbrush with hard bristles will cause more gum recession (where the gums pull away from your teeth) and tooth wear, also called abrasion. Those are the little notches that form in the teeth along the gumline.

If you are not sure if your teeth and gums are healthy, then contact us today and book an appointment!

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