Brushing Your Teeth – The Right Way

There’s a lot of advice out there about how to brush your teeth properly but what really is the right way? Here are some guidelines to follow:

Infant/Toddler Teeth

Take care of the gums before any teeth even appear. This will help eliminate harmful bacteria that can affect teeth when they first grow in.

  • Use a very soft washcloth or clean piece of gauze to gently wipe your baby’s gums twice a day. (The best times are after feedings and before bedtime.) Remember to be gentle!

First teeth? They’re not just there to look cute. It’s extremely important to keep baby teeth healthy as they are the placeholders for permanent teeth to erupt correctly. If they are lost prematurely, an appliance needs to be made in order to hold that space for the permanent tooth. It’s much easier on your child (and your wallet) if you maintain correctly from the beginning.

  • Choose the softest, smallest child toothbrush you can find.
  • Brush teeth gently with water. You can start with a tiny droplet of fluoride-free toothpaste from about 8-12 months and start using a full droplet of fluoride toothpaste when your child is 3.

Permanent/Adult Teeth

These are teeth for the rest of your life. Make sure to start young to help ensure that adult teeth have the best chance at staying healthy and strong.

  • Brush for at least 2 minutes. To pass the time you can watch TV, listen to music, read a magazine, or do anything else that doesn’t require too much other attention.
  • Brush gently. Brushing harder doesn’t help you get cleaner teeth. In fact, brushing hard can bruise or cut your gums making it easier for infections to occur. Also, the enamel on your teeth will last longer if you take it easy.
  • Don’t brush more than 3 times a day. You would think that brushing more means cleaner teeth, but once again, your enamel can only handle so much. Brush only when necessary (after eating meals or sweets.)
  • Dry Brush – This will help you remove more of the soft, sticky, plaque.
  • Find a routine – If you have a routine, you can make sure that each part of your mouth is remembered.
  • Switch it up – Now that you have a routine in place, change up the order every now and then to make sure your teeth are getting evenly cleaned.
  • Hide your toothbrush – Keep your toothbrushes behind mirrors or tucked away if possible. Bathrooms are germ-filled and the last thing you want is a germ-filled toothbrush.
  • Get a new brush – Replace your toothbrush within 3-4 months or whenever it starts too look like it’s fraying. Fresh brushes are key to good oral hygiene. Try using a soft bristled toothbrush.
  • Floss/Gargle – For any missed or hard to reach spots.

No matter how well you take care of your teeth, you should still have regular checkups at the dentist. Dr. Lorraine Burio of Candlewood Dental Care in New Fairfield, CT has been seeing and treating patients for over 25 years. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment please call 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here.