Brushing our teeth is something we do from a very young age, so we all think of it as easy, when it is actually tricky to do correctly. Brushing properly means brushing in the correct way and spending an appropriate amount of time. Brushing your teeth ineffectively leaves plaque behind. Brushing too hard causes recession of the gum and can cause tooth sensitivity.
How long should I spend brushing my teeth?
You should spend a minimum of 2 minutes, up to 3 minutes brushing. This should be approximately split into four 30 second intervals. Each 30 seconds can be used for an aspect of your teeth
1 – outside of the top (touching your cheek and lips)
2 – inside of the top (facing towards your palate)
3 – outside of bottom teeth
4 – inside of bottom teeth.
The most effective technique is to use little circles with your brush, angling it at a 45 degree angle towards the gum. After several circular strokes, rotate the brush in a sweeping motion towards the biting surface of the tooth. This is called the modified bass technique. Move the brush to next few teeth and repeat. Following a pattern around your mouth ensures you get every tooth every time. Otherwise you will get into the habit of missing the same areas each time.
You will not be able to do this motion at the lower front teeth. Instead bring the brush from above down to the gum, so the handle is facing upwards, again at 45 degrees. Use an upward sweeping motion. At the end of cleaning around the gum margins, some brushing back and forth along the biting surfaces of the teeth completes the brushing.
Is there an easier way to clean my teeth?
Some people find the coordination to do circular motion difficult. In this case, you can gently use a back and forth motion instead of circles. You should be careful though, as too much pressure can damage the gum leading to recession.
Using an electric brush can be beneficial. For those with poor technique, it does the hard work for them. It also allows less pressure to be used. Many brushes have an automatic timer to let you know when to move between areas and how long to spend brushing. At Darlinghurst Dental we recommend Philips Sonicare range, which is available at the counter and through our online shop.