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The Right Way to Brush Your Teeth

Did you know that proper brushing takes at least two minutes — that’s right, 120 seconds! Most adults do not even come close to brushing that long. 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 and to kill all the bacteria before it makes it to the surfaces of your teeth, be sure to brush your tongue, too

As MEC Instructor, Deborah demonstrates in the video below, make sure to tilt your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle towards your gumline and brush in big gentle circles. Pressing too hard and moving your toothbrush back and forth will cause you to erase your gums and increase sensitivity. Most dental professionals agree that a soft-bristled brush is best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth. Small-headed brushes are also preferable, since they can better reach all areas of the mouth, including hard-to-reach back teeth. For many, a powered toothbrush is a good alternative. It can do a better job of cleaning teeth, particularly for those who have difficulty brushing or who have limited manual dexterity. It is also important that you use an American Dental Association recommended 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. Make sure to ask one your dentist or dental hygienist which toothpaste is right for you.

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. Watch Deborah as she demonstrates proper brushing techniques and explains the importance of brushing correctly, in this Morrison Dental Health Minute video. 

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