Proper brushing takes at least two minutes - that's right, 120 seconds! Most adults do not come close to brushing that long. To get a feel for the time involved, try using a stopwatch. To properly brush your teeth, use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gumline, hard-to-reach back teeth and areas around fillings, crowns or other restoration. Concentrate on thoroughly cleaning each section as follows:
- Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
- Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
- Clean the chewing surfaces
- For fresher breath, be sure to brush your tongue, too
How Important is the Toothpaste I Use?
It is important that you use a toothpaste that's right for you. Today there is a wide variety of toothpaste designed for many conditions, including cavities, gingivitis, tartar, stained teeth and sensitivity. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist which toothpaste is right for you.
How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?
You should replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear, or every three months, whichever comes first. It is also very important to change toothbrushes after you've had a cold, since the bristles can collect germs that can lead to reinfection.
What you can do for a healthy mouth
Healthy habits can equal a healthy mouth. Here are some oral health tips to get you started:
- Brushyour teeth at least twice a day
- Floss every day
- Visit your dentist for a dental exam and cleaning at least every 6 months, or as recommended
- Check your gums to make sure they?re pink and that the gum line hugs teeth tightly. Your gums should not bleed when you brush.
- Stop smoking. Smoking puts you at risk for oral cancer and infection.