Most people know the basics of tooth brushing; how many times a day to brush their teeth, and how long to brush for. But do you know how long to wait before you brush your teeth after a meal, or which foods help to keep your teeth clean?
Check out these 10 tips to make sure you are keeping your teeth in a great condition.
1. Wait 30 minutes after a meal to brush your teeth
Brushing your teeth immediately after eating food can be damaging for your teeth. During this time, the pH-level in your mouth is lower than normal, and more acidic, so brushing can be very abrasive and harmful.
2. Don’t always start brushing in the same place
Dentists say most people normally start brushing their teeth in the same place. By the time you reach the last part, you may be a little bored and end up paying less attention to these areas. Richard Price, consumer adviser for the American Dental Association, recommends starting in a different place each time so all of your teeth receive the same amount of attention.
3. Be gentle while brushing your teeth
Most people have different techniques to brush their teeth, but some are more harmful than others. Teeth need to be brushed lightly, as harsher brushing can damage the teeth and erode gums. Instead of brushing in long strokes, brush your teeth in a gentle, circular motion.
Periodontist Dr. David Genet recommends brushing your teeth as gently as you would clean priceless furniture. A telltale way to check if you are brushing too hard is to see if the bristles bend on your teeth. If they do, you could be brushing too hard.
4. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes
Most people already know that the recommended amount of time to brush your teeth is two minutes. But despite that, most people still don’t brush long enough.
A good way to make sure you brush for two minutes is to turn the water off while you’re brushing. Leaving the tap on often makes people mentally try to speed the job up, so they are less likely to brush for as long as they need to. Another method to try is playing music while you do your teeth, so you know how much time has passed.
5. Pay attention to your molars and the inner side of your teeth
While this might sound logical, many people brush their front teeth more than the rest. While these are the teeth people see, all of your teeth need equal attention. Pay extra attention to your molars and the inner side of your teeth, as these are the parts your tongue is most often pressed against.
6. Make sure you are using the right kind of toothbrush
Often people use toothbrushes that are too big or small for the size of their mouth, which can stop them from reaching all areas of their mouth.
Another common problem is using a toothbrush with bristles that are too stiff, as this can damage your gums. The American Dental Association recommends a soft brush, so make sure your brush isn’t too stiff for your gums.
7. Eat fruit and vegetables to naturally clean teeth
A useful tip to keep your teeth clean when you’re out of the house and don’t have the opportunity to brush, is to eat fruit and vegetables, such as apples and celery. Raw fruits and vegetables are filled with fiber, a natural abrasive that gently removes plaque.
Rinse with water to help remove any stray bacteria, and brush and floss your teeth once you get home.
8. Keep your brush clean
Although your toothbrush looks clean after you have finished brushing, bacteria that can cause bad breath and cavities can grow on the brush. Rinse the brush when you’ve finished to help remove the harmful bacteria.
It is also useful to buy a cup to keep your toothbrush in, as leaving the toothbrush touching the sink or counter makes it more likely to pick up other bacteria’s from your bathroom.
9. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months
Although many people struggle to brush their teeth for long enough, most hold onto their toothbrushes for far too long. The American Dental Association recommends changing your brush every three to four months, as the bristles become frayed and less effective, and the brush can gather bacteria on the brush and handle.
10. Floss your teeth daily
Although tooth brushing is an extremely effective way to keep your teeth clean, bristles often cannot reach in between your teeth, where food and bacteria can build up and develop into tartar.
While it does not matter if you floss before or after brushing your teeth, it is an important part of keeping your whole mouth clean and healthy.