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What if you were destroying your teeth and didn’t even know it? We brush our teeth twice a day in order to keep cavities and other oral health issues away. But just brushing your teeth is not enough to protect them. Instead, you must ensure you are brushing them the right way. That’s where we in. Keep reading to discover our top 5 Webster Family Dentistry tips to brush perfectly every time as well as some easy mistakes you need to avoid!

How Long Should You Brush Your Teeth?

It’s important to brush your teeth for at least two minutes at a time twice a day. You should use a timer or stopwatch to ensure you brush for the minimum amount of time.

At first, using a timer or stopwatch may seem like overkill. However, it’s not until we start brushing each morning and evening that we realize Albert Einstein was correct. Time is relative!

Without checking the time, it’s easy to think two minutes have gone by when they haven’t. And if you keep finishing 30 seconds too early, this can sabotage your dental care over time.

Is It Possible to Brush Too Much?

While brushing for more than two minutes is usually not dangerous, it is possible to brush your teeth too hard. This can lead to sensitivity, abrasion, and even gum recession.

Most people who brush too hard are very concerned about their dental hygiene. Unfortunately, brushing hard can cause its own kinds of dental care issues separate from not brushing enough.

If you’re worried that you’re brushing too hard, be sure to consult with your dentist. And here at Webster Family Dentistry, we’re happy to make sure each tooth brushing session is “just right.”

The Type of Toothbrush Matters

When you go to the store, you may notice that there are often dozens of different toothbrushes to choose from. However, some of these are going to be more effective than others.

For example, you need a toothbrush with soft bristles. This is ideal for removing plaque from your teeth, which is why such brushes are recommended by the American Dentistry Association.

Beyond that, you have some choices in which type of toothbrush to use. Some people prefer a brush with a smaller head because they find it easier to get to those hard-to-reach places within the mouth. And many prefer an electric toothbrush because it provides a stronger and more consistent brushing experience.

How Often Do I Need to Replace the Toothbrush?

It’s best to replace your toothbrush every three months. However, you can replace it earlier than that if you begin to see signs of wear and tear. And you should always replace your toothbrush after you recover from an illness.

It’s important to think of your toothbrush like any other tool. It will wear down and become less effective over time. And if you don’t replace the brush in time, then even a vigorous brushing job may not effectively clean your teeth.

If you use an electric toothbrush, you can replace the head instead of getting a brand new brush. This helps cut down on the overall costs of your dental care.

Finding the Right Toothpaste

One of the most common questions we get is what toothpaste a person should be using. However, the correct answer varies from patient to patient!

For example, some toothpaste is designed for sensitive teeth. And some toothpaste is designed to whiten your teeth. Other types are formulated to fight cavities in a particular way.

Long story short? If you are concerned about which toothpaste is right for you, it’s best to consult with your dentist. This is especially true if you have concerns about your current toothpaste.

Toothbrushing Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to dental hygiene, sometimes it is important to know what not to do. Even small mistakes in toothbrushing add up over time and can lead to major issues with your dental care.

Fortunately, the most common toothbrushing mistakes are easy to fix. Below, we have a few mistakes you need to avoid!

Just Going Back and Forth

The most common toothbrushing error is that people go back and forth over their teeth with the brush. This technique might make your teeth look good, but it won’t remove most of the plaque.

That’s because plaque builds up around your gums. To go after the plaque, you need to start at your gums and move the brush up and down instead of left to right. This “gentle massage” technique will be much more effective.

Brushing Too Soon After Eating

One of the reasons that we brush at night is to clean up our teeth after a day of eating various meals and drinking assorted drinks. Some people think it is best to brush right after eating. However, that can be a big mistake!

The food we eat leaves acid on our teeth. Fortunately, our saliva helps deal with the acid. But if you don’t wait at least 20 minutes after eating to brush, you’re sabotaging your dental care.

That’s because if you brush before your saliva helps deal with the acid, your brushing may spread the acid around. Just like that, brushing can do harm to your teeth.

Ignoring the Inside of Your Teeth

We brush in front of a mirror most of the time. Because of that, we brush what we can see. But it’s also important to brush what you can’t see: the inside of your mouth.

Plaque can build up inside your teeth just like it builds anywhere else. And if you don’t take care of this hidden plaque, it can lead to cavities and other major issues.

Brushing the inside of your teeth as well as your tongue helps improve your dental hygiene. As an added bonus, your breath will smell better, too!

Visit Webster Family Dentistry Today

Now you know how to brush your teeth better every time and what mistakes to avoid. But do you know who you can trust with your overall dental hygiene?

Here at Webster Family Dentistry, we specialize in giving you healthier teeth and a brighter smile. To see what we can do for you and your family, just contact us today!

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Is trying to get your kids to brush their teeth an ongoing battle? If so, you aren’t alone. 

As a parent, you want them to have healthy teeth and healthy brushing habits. But it’s easier said than done!

We understand how difficult it can be to keep kids on a regular schedule of healthy oral hygiene. If something isn’t fun or engaging, kids will consider it a chore.

That’s why we suggest incorporating some fun and play into their daily teeth brushing routine. Here are a few fun ways to get your kids to brush.

Brush Along With Them

Your kids are always watching you whether you realize it or not. They learn so much about the world from observing you in their first few years. 

When it’s time to brush their teeth at night, brush yours along with them. Don’t make it seem like a chore. Smile to lighten the mood.

If you make brushing and caring for your teeth a positive experience, they will quickly learn the importance of caring for their own. Presenting a positive attitude about oral hygiene can make trips to the dentist easier too.

Let Your Child Choose Their Toothbrush

Kids love to feel like they’re in control of some of their decisions. Give them the responsibility of choosing their own toothbrush.

Toothbrushes are inexpensive, so it can be fun to get a new one when the novelty of the old one wears off. Let them choose their favorite color or character toothbrush.

They can also pick their favorite flavor of toothpaste. You can change this once in a while too. Adult minty toothpaste is too strong for some kids.

Whitening toothpaste isn’t for little mouths. Kid’s toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors. A new toothbrush and flavor of toothpaste can help get your kids excited about brushing their teeth.

Brush Each Other’s Teeth

If you’re looking for a way to get your kids to brush, try brushing each other’s teeth once in a while. This approach isn’t ideal for the long term. But it can be a fun distraction and a way to ensure their teeth are thoroughly brushed from time to time.

Let your child brush your teeth and “teach” you about how to do it properly. Then, you do the same for them. You can even try making a game of it and brushing each other’s teeth simultaneously.

Offer Rewards for Motivation

Kids work harder when they have a goal in mind. Brushing their teeth twice a day is a goal you can encourage.

Let them know if you see them doing a good job brushing for a whole week, there will be a reward. This can be a small prize, a new book, or an extra hour of video games.

Think about what will motivate your kids. Developing healthy habits they will carry through their lives is definitely worth a reward.

Sing a Toothbrush Song

Establishing a routine is an important part of daily oral hygiene. One way to establish a routine is to play the same song every time they brush. 

This passes the time and teaches them the proper amount of time to brush. You can choose a song or find one The American Dental Association recommends.

They will get used to listening and brushing at the same time. You can even put them in charge of starting the music when it’s time to brush.

A little singing and dancing in the bathroom can be a fun part of your child’s brushing habits.

Keep Your Cool

As a parent, you know that nothing is perfect. Don’t expect every brushing session to go as planned. Tired and irritable children aren’t always in the mood to brush, no matter how fun you make it.

Remember to stay calm. Try not to make brushing a stressful situation by venting your frustrations or getting angry with your child.

If they associate brushing with stress or “mad mommy,” they will try to avoid it even more. Your child doesn’t have to do a fantastic job brushing every night.

Some days it may seem impossible to know how to make kids love brushing their teeth. Consistency is the key.  

If you have a bad episode, it’s okay. Try again tomorrow.  

Incorporate Brushing Into Playtime

Young children learn through play. You can teach them about the importance of brushing by incorporating it into playtime.

Kids love to brush their stuffed animals, baby dolls, and bath toys’ teeth. They can pretend to floss them too.

Pretend to be a dentist and go through the motions of a visit to get their teeth cleaned. Read fun books about teeth and good oral hygiene.

The more they see the importance of oral hygiene modeled into everyday life, the more routine it will seem.

Make Going to the Dentist a Good Experience

You don’t want to wait until your child has their first cavity to take them to the dentist. Start early and make it a positive experience for them. 

The dentist does not have to be scary. if your children take good care of their teeth, dentist visits are a breeze.

You want them to have a relationship with their dentist and feel comfortable and safe in their office. Your dentist and the dental staff can reinforce what you’re teaching your child at home.

When your child feels happy and confident heading to the dentist, it’s a more pleasant experience for everyone involved.

Make Your Child’s Teeth Brushing Routine Fun

Establishing healthy oral hygiene habits early in life is so important. You can help your child accomplish this by starting early and making their teeth brushing routine fun.

Our team at Webster Family Dental is here to support your child and the entire family with all their dental needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Did you know that the average American adult sometimes goes two days without brushing their teeth?

While brushing any amount is better than nothing at all, it’s still important to know that there’s a right and wrong way to care for your teeth and gums. Chances are that you have at least one of the many bad brushing habits out there.

Are you ready to learn how to adopt a flawless brushing routine? Keep reading to learn 8 ways you can stop harming your teeth.

1. Don’t Apply Too Much Pressure

One of the most common mistakes people make when brushing their teeth is being too aggressive with their grip. You may think that you’re getting the deepest clean possible with this technique, but the truth is that you’re putting yourself at risk of destroying your enamel.

Enamel is the thin, protective barrier that surrounds our teeth. When our enamel is strong, it can help ward off cavities and all kinds of oral health conditions. This is why it’s essential to brush your teeth like a gentle but thorough massage to keep the enamel intact.

2. Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush

Another way you can ensure that you’re not being too tough on your teeth is to make the switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush. Not only will this help keep your teeth in top shape, but you’ll also be able to avoid irritating your gums.

The good news is that soft-bristled toothbrushes are easy to find. They’re in the same location as other types of toothbrushes and the packaging will have a clear label that it’s soft-bristled. You can also get soft-bristled toothbrushes from your dentist whenever you get a cleaning.

3. Hold Your Toothbrush at a 45-Degree Angle

It’s not ideal to hold your toothbrush horizontally and use broad strokes across your teeth. This brushing method can leave behind bacteria and neglect your gums.

The best approach to take is to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle so the bristles can reach every part of your teeth and gums. Keeping your gums clean means that you won’t have to worry about serious conditions like gingivitis.

4. Brush in a Circular Motion

Once you’ve mastered holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, you can move on to getting your rhythm right. You should brush in a small, circular motion so that each individual tooth can get proper attention.

This tip is especially important for people who have crooked teeth. Being mindful of working the bristles into all the crevices can keep your smile healthy and vibrant. It’s not uncommon to be able to feel a bit of grime on unclean teeth, so can try running your tongue over your teeth after you’re done brushing to test if you were thorough enough.

5. Set a Timer for Two Minutes Twice a Day

Not many people enjoy brushing their teeth, so it’s hard to set aside a full two minutes to get the job done well. Even if you think you’re already brushing the ideal amount, you’d be surprised by how much time can slow down when you’re doing a chore.

To make sure that you never skimp on your brushing routine, it’s helpful to set a timer on your phone or even listen to a short song that will guide you through the cleaning. Do your best to spend 30 seconds in each quadrant of your mouth so each area gets equal attention.

6. Wait 15 Minutes After Eating

Whether you have a busy morning routine or you like the feeling of freshening up after a meal, you may be guilty of brushing your teeth too soon after eating. In addition to brushing with too much force, brushing after meals is another habit that can weaken your enamel over time.

There are lots of foods that are high in acidity, which causes your enamel to soften. When you brush your teeth before your enamel has time to harden up again, you’re more likely to strip it away. You should wait at least 15 minutes after eating to brush your teeth, but waiting up to an hour is more ideal.

Are you worried about harming your enamel? You can protect your teeth by drinking water after eating acidic foods like citrus fruits or meat to flush out your mouth. You can also drink acidic beverages like soda and fruit juices with a straw.

7. Cover All Areas of Your Teeth

If you’re passionate about having a dazzling smile, then you may pay extra attention to the front of your teeth where others will notice. It’s vital to cleanse the entire surface area of your teeth so you can eliminate dangerous bacteria. Pay close attention to how you maneuver your toothbrush and don’t forget to scrub the tricky places like the backs of your molars.

8. Get Personalized Advice From Your Dentist

Dentists are trained to look inside of a person’s mouth and figure out the causes of any oral health issues. Once they’ve made a diagnosis, they can help reverse the damage and educate their patients so they can make lifestyle changes that will resolve the problem. 

It’s great to read tips on maintaining tooth and gum health, but nothing can replace personalized suggestions from a dentist who can identify what needs improvement. This is why you should never put off your regular cleanings.

Now You Know How to Stop Harming Your Teeth

Lots of people are surprised to learn that they have bad oral hygiene habits. If you follow this guide on how to avoid harming your teeth, you can protect your teeth and gums so they stay beautiful and healthy.

Are you in need of professional dental services in the Webster Groves, Missouri area? If so, Webster Family Dental would love to take care of you and help you achieve the smile of your dreams. Contact us so we can schedule your next appointment.

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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.

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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.