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Did you know that as many as half of Americans only brush their teeth once a day?

Not only does looking after your teeth help you maintain a beautiful smile, but you can also ward off serious health conditions like gingivitis and even heart disease. Since our oral hygiene is linked strongly to our overall health, it’s worth putting in the effort to develop mindful habits.

Have you adopted any brushing techniques that are causing more harm than good? Keep reading to learn 10 teeth brushing tips that will boost your oral hygiene.

1. Use a Soft-Bristled Brush

When most people walk down the toothbrush aisle at the store, they’re overwhelmed by all of the choices and don’t take the time to read the labels. Whenever you get new toothbrushes, it’s best to choose products that come with soft bristles. If you use toothbrushes that aren’t gentle on your mouth, then you increase your chances of stripping away your protective tooth enamel.

2. Don’t Scrub Too Hard

In addition to buying rough toothbrushes, lots of people brush too aggressively. While it’s nice to get a deep clean, this shouldn’t be achieved by scrubbing with a lot of pressure. Stripping the enamel from your teeth makes you more susceptible to cavities and you could also create inflammation in your gums.

If you’re having a hard time applying the right amount of pressure, then you always have the option of upgrading to an electric toothbrush that does the work for you.

3. Replace Your Toothbrush Every Three Months

Since experts recommend that people go to the dentist twice a year for routine cleanings, some may only get replacement toothbrushes during these visits. The truth is that you should always replace your toothbrush every three months instead of 6. If you notice that your bristles look worn down, bent, or discolored, it’s time to throw the toothbrush out.

Another helpful tip is to store your toothbrush as far away from your toilet as possible in an open container that doesn’t encourage mold growth. Be sure to flush with the toilet lid down to prevent fecal aerosols from landing on your toothbrush.

4. Brush in Small Circles

Unless you’ve had braces and maintained your alignment with a retainer, it’s likely that your teeth have some overlap that can make brushing every surface a challenge. Instead of brushing up and down, you should move in small circles to ensure that every crevice is cleansed. If you have noticeable overlap, pay extra attention to those teeth to prevent cavities and other oral health conditions.

Remember that brushing your teeth should feel like a refreshing massage, so be gentle but thorough.

5. Don’t Forget to Brush Your Gum Line

While you’re using a circular motion to brush your teeth, make sure you start at the top of your teeth and work your way down. Bacteria can get trapped in the space where your gums meet your teeth, so take your time cleaning your gum line. For extra cleaning power, you can hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to get deep into that area.

6. Brush for Two Minutes

Time always seems to move slower when we have to stand still and brush our teeth. If you rush this process, then you can miss a lot of germs and create a buildup of plaque. Whether you use the timer on your phone, listen to a short song, or get an electric toothbrush with a timer, always do your best to clean for two minutes.

7. Wait 20 Minutes After Eating Before Brushing Your Teeth

There’s a fine line between waiting too long to brush your teeth and brushing too soon. We’ve all been taught that bacteria can flourish in our mouths when it has time to grow, which is why it’s understandable that some people feel compelled to brush right after eating.

Digestion starts when we chew and eating can turn your mouth into an acidic environment. Acid weakens your enamel, so brushing your teeth without waiting 20 minutes can wreak havoc on your oral health.

8. Brush at Least Twice a Day for Optimal Tooth Care

How often should you brush your teeth? Some people have heard three times a day while others have heard you should brush every time you eat something.

Since we live in a fast-paced world, we don’t always have access to our toothbrushes. This is why you should aim to brush your teeth at least twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. If you want to be extra careful, then you can carry around some sugar-free gum to help remove food particles from your teeth after snacking.

9. Make Sure You Brush the Inner Sides of Your Teeth

We use the front of our teeth to smile and the underside to chew, so a lot of people are diligent about cleaning those areas. However, the inner sides of our teeth can still house bacteria, so you can’t forget to incorporate this area into your daily brushing routine. If you don’t pay enough attention to the inner sides of your teeth, then your dentist will notice more inflammation there than the rest of your mouth.

10. Give Your Tongue a Nice Scrub

A lesser-known dental hygiene tip is to include your tongue when you wash your mouth. Once you’re finished brushing your teeth, you should stick your tongue out and work your way from the back to the front with your toothbrush. Be sure to spit and complete your routine with some mouthwash to kill any leftover germs in your mouth.

Proper Teeth Brushing Is Essential for Your Overall Health and Confidence

Since your smile is one of the first features that people notice about you, it’s important to take steps to preserve your oral hygiene. If you follow this guide on teeth brushing, then you can ensure that your smile stays healthy and radiant for years to come.

Keeping up with regular dental checkups will not only give you a deep clean, but your dentist can also provide customized tips if they notice any issues with your brushing habits. If you’re in need of stellar dental care near Webster Groves, MO, contact us to set up your first appointment.

Mother Daughter Brushing teeth

While many people think of oral health issues as a problem that comes with age, this is not the case. 20% of children between the ages of 5-11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth, which can cause discomfort and a plethora of other health issues. These problems include gum disease, headaches, and jaw problems that stem from biting down on food incorrectly.

Clearly, dental care for kids is important, and the main aspect of this is tooth brushing. But what can you do to make brushing more palatable for reluctant little ones? Read on to learn the answer to this question and to get some expert strategies for making teeth-brushing time more fun.

1. Brush Your Teeth Together

Children- especially small children- love to imitate the adults in their life. They view the things that you do as mature, sophisticated, and interesting, and they believe that mimicking your movements will make them develop these qualities as well.

This means that setting an example and brushing your teeth at the same time as your child does will make brushing time more fun for them. They will be happy to imitate your movements so that they can feel like an adult themselves. This strategy is great because it motivates you to brush properly as well!

2. Play Fun Music

Children tend to struggle with brushing their teeth for a long enough period of time. Even when they do decide to brush, it could last for only 10 seconds before they get bored and decide that they’re done. This is clearly insufficient, so you need to give them something fun to do for the entire interval that they should be brushing.

A favorite song can do just that. Turn on a tune that your child likes and brush your teeth for the interval that that song plays in. This will generally give your child anywhere between 2-4 minutes of brushing time and allow them to reach into every part of their mouth.

3. Get a Cool Toothbrush

It can be tempting to get your child an adult toothbrush- they’re cheap, easy to access, and come in packs that you can use as well. However, in a child’s mind, these toothbrushes are incredibly boring. They’re usually unicolor and have no fun print on them besides a brand name that kids don’t care about.

Luckily, they do manufacture toothbrushes that kids are sure to love. If your child loves Disney princesses, you can find a Mulan or Cinderella toothbrush at any department store. The same applies to other favorite characters like Toy Story, Cars, Hello Kitty, and more.

4. Make Games and Tell Stories

Kids are incredibly imaginative and they love to play games. You can make tooth-brushing into a kind of game with them where you bring in a favorite toy or doll and brush its teeth before moving onto their own.

If your child is too old for that or seems disinterested, you can play hide-and-seek with their toothbrush and toothpaste. Having them play a game of treasure hunt of hot-and-cold to find it is something that they may look forward to and associate with brushing time. This will put them in a good mood and give them a positive mindset about oral hygiene.

5. Offer Fun Rewards

Children often don’t feel like they’re getting any benefits from brushing their teeth, which makes them understandably reluctant to do so. In their mind, it’s a waste of time at best and an unpleasant bad-tasting activity at worst. However, offering them a small reward can help them view tooth-brushing as a chore that they get something out of.

Daily rewards can be something as simple as a sticker or interestingly-shaped rubber eraser (they come in bulk packs at the dollar store and kids love them.) You can also set up a larger weekly reward for brushing twice a day, such as a dinner at a favorite restaurant or an extra hour of iPad time.

6. Switch Up Toothpaste Flavors

Everyone has tried using a toothpaste that they don’t like before, and it really puts a damper on brushing time. Even adults procrastinate and outright avoid brushing when their toothpaste tastes bad or has some weird, awful texture. Children, as is to be expected, will also avoid this but on a much larger scale.

Ask your child directly if they like the toothpaste that they’re using. If they say ‘no,’ take them to the store and let them select an alternative that they think they might like. Check in again a couple of weeks later (make sure that you give them time to adjust and get used to the new toothpaste). Repeat the process if they still dislike their toothpaste.

7. Be Encouraging

Children love to receive praise because they value the opinions of their parents. Cheering your child on while they brush their teeth is a great way to make them feel good about the activity. Stand by and tell them when they do something specifically good while brushing such as hitting spots on both sides of their mouth or brushing their tongue.

Offering them a sincere ‘good job’ after they finish brushing is sometimes all that it takes to turn oral hygiene maintenance from a chore to an opportunity to please.

Get Professional Dental Care for Kids

While frequent brushing is important for children, seeing a professional twice a year is also critical to pediatric oral health. Scheduling an appointment with your local dentist ensures that your child will get the dental care that they need to maintain their adorable smile.

Schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable dental professionals. We offer both preventative and restorative dentistry solutions so little ones can get the care that they need. Feel free to also browse our webpage if you want more information before scheduling and to contact us with any remaining questions that you may have.