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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.

Tooth brushing

You brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste as your dentist recommended. So you’re doing everything right, right?

Not necessarily. It’s not just the frequency of how often you brush your teeth or the brand of toothpaste you’re using between professional teeth cleanings. If you’re not brushing your teeth properly, it can be all for naught. 

Many people aren’t brushing properly, but that can be corrected with some adjustments. Here are 9 common tooth brushing mistakes to be aware of the next time you’re tending to your teeth…

1. Choosing The Wrong Bristles

If you’re trying to get plaque buildup off your teeth, you need a hard brush to scrape it, right? That’s not actually the case. 

Just because the bristles are harder, it doesn’t mean they do a better job of cleaning. In fact, the harder bristles can actually cause some damage to the structure of the tooth and hurt the gums. 

Softer bristles can bend, allowing the bristles to get under the gumline where bacteria can hide. 

2. Letting Your Brush Wear Out

You find a great toothbrush that you love. It has a comfortable handle, and you like the color of it. 

However, at some point, you will have to part with your existing brush. You will see signs of wear on the brush as the bristles start to fray, which reduces the effectiveness of the tooth brushing. 

The official recommendation is to change up your manual (and electric) brush every three months. That’s more often than the six-month visit between dentist exams

3. Not Brushing Long Enough

When you’re brushing, you might think you’re done when you’ve reached all the corners of your mouth – which is often under a minute. But that’s not actually long enough according to experts. 

The guideline is to brush for a full two minutes each time you visit the bathroom to brush your teeth. 

For kids especially, brushing for a full two minutes can be a challenge. Aside from using a timer, there are some fun songs you can play for them to help them go the distance. 

4. Brushing Too Vigorously

This harkens back to using bristles too hard: people thing “harder” will get their teeth cleaner. However, by putting too much pressure on your teeth when brushing, you might actually cause damage to the gums.

The reality is that the plaque you’re trying to remove is soft, so you can remove it by brushing gently. It’s only hard when it becomes tartar (from lack of plaque removal), which can be taken care of during a dental visit

5. Improper Brushing Patterns

There’s an old song for kids that teaches them to brush teeth “round and round.” However, while that might’ve been the advice of the day, it’s not necessarily the accepted best practice anymore. 

The “new” standard is to brush your teeth back and forth across the length of a tooth, hitting all of the surfaces. You should also be placing the brush on the teeth on a 45-degree angle near the gum line. 

When cleaning the backs of your front teeth, turn the brush vertically and massage them with the brush in gentle up-and-down strokes. 

6. Using The Wrong Toothpaste

There are many types of toothpaste out there, from those meant for sensitive teeth to those that promise to remove stains. 

Whitening kinds of toothpaste seem to be fine (professional whitening might be more effective). Those with baking soda might actually be doing harm as they’re abrasive and can damage the enamel of the tooth. 

When searching for the right toothpaste for you, pay attention to the label. It should indicate that there are a thousand (or more) parts per million of fluoride, and there should be a seal of approval from the American Dental Association on it somewhere. 

7. Not Cleaning Your Entire Mouth

When it comes to tooth brushing, you’re probably just focusing on your teeth. And rightly so. However, you shouldn’t neglect your entire oral health picture when cleaning. 

One major component of the mouth that is often overlooked is the tongue. While you can use a tongue scraper to clean it, using your toothbrush also works

The key is to have a soft-bristle brush and allow the easiest access by sticking out your tongue. Starting from the back of the tongue using gentle strokes, rinsing the excess off the brush as you go. 

Cleaning your tongue with a scraper or brush may be a way to reduce bad breath. 

While you’re at it, you can also clean your mouth’s palette and the inside of the cheeks to get rid of any debris. Cleaning your tongue and cheeks at least once a day will help you achieve a higher overall feeling of cleanliness. 

8. Brushing Right After a Meal

You might think it’s a good idea to brush away the excess right after you’ve consumed a meal, but it’s actually a mistake. 

The reason is that you will have acid in your mouth after eating, and the abrasives from brushing can add to the erosion of the teeth. You should wait at least 60 minutes to allow time for your saliva to neutralize the acid. 

In the meantime, you can chew sugarless gum or just drink some water while you wait to head to the bathroom for a brushing session. 

9. Forgetting The Final Touches

Brushing your teeth is a big part of the equation. But there’s more to it than that to maintain optimal oral health. 

First of all, you should be using floss to get at food particles that can’t be reached with a brush. The bacteria left behind could contribute to tooth decay. 

When you’ve finished that step, use a proper mouthwash that kills germs and doesn’t contain alcohol. This will get rid of any leftover bacteria churned up from brushing and flossing. 

If you don’t have mouthwash, then swish with water. 

Brush Up On Tooth Brushing 

Brushing your teeth twice a day – properly – is a key to good oral health. Follow these tooth brushing tips for the most effective cleaning. 

Combined with regular visits to the dentist, you can help prevent cavities and catch oral health issues early!

To find out more or to schedule a dental appointment, contact us today.  

Did you know that 20 percent of children from the ages of 2 to 11 have at least one cavity that hasn’t even been treated?

After a kid loses their baby teeth, they’re stuck with the same teeth for life. This is why it’s important for children to develop effective and healthy habits related to oral hygiene.

After their seventh Halloween celebration involving massive amounts of candy, the last thing they’ll want to hear is that 90 percent of their teeth have cavities. A child should be able to smile confidently far into late adulthood without worrying about the difficulties involved with getting premature dentures. Fortunately, there are many teeth brushing apps out there to help your kid get into the habit of caring for their teeth on a regular basis.

Keep reading to learn all about 5 teeth brushing apps for kids.

1. Brush Your Teeth App

Made by Concappt Media, this teeth brushing app is a wonderful tool for children to get in the habit of brushing two times a day. What’s particularly great about this app is that your child can pick one of several different animals that can brush their teeth alongside them.

Whether it’s a goofy horse or a cute and furry dog, everything is more fun when you can do it with a friend. It’s often best to learn a new skill by teaching it to someone else, which is why the app allows your child to choose what their favorite animal has eaten and then squeeze toothpaste onto the bristles of their toothbrush.

After your child has helped their animal friend, then they can do it too and brush together.

2. Disney Magic Timer App

If your child loves Disney characters more than they love animals, then they’ll go wild for the Disney Magic Timer tooth brushing app. Disney has a wealth of characters that come from all the movies and TV shows that have been made, such as Disney princesses, Marvel superheroes, and even Star Wars Jedi Masters.

Your kid can pick from some of these iconic characters and then brush their teeth with them. The longer your kids use the app, the more characters they can unlock, which will give them an incentive to use it regularly.

Best of all, the app uses a timer so that kids can know how long they’re brushing their teeth for during each session. Both children and adults should brush their teeth for 2 minutes to ensure that every tooth is properly cleaned.

Keep in mind that because this app was made in conjunction with Oral-B and Crest, you’ll have to own their brand of toothbrush in order to use the app.

3. Luca Lashes eBook App

If your child simply adores storytelling and reading, then they may have already heard about the Luca Lashes eBook series which teaches children healthy brushing habits.

If not, this teeth cleaning app is a great way to enhance their brushing experience so that they can get excited about getting their pearly whites squeaky clean. The story involves Luca Lashes as he learns to brush his teeth, so your child won’t feel alone when they have to learn to brush their teeth as well.

Stories can speak to children and adults in profound ways. With this in mind, downloading the Luca Lashes eBook app can make your child feel like they are part of the narrative each time they brush their teeth.

4. Brusheez: Little Monsters Toothbrush App

Perhaps your child doesn’t care so much about Disney princesses, superheroes, and animals, then they might enjoy an app that features cartoon monsters. Your little sci-fi buff in the making will love brushing their teeth with weird, animated monsters.

Another thing that makes this tooth brushing timer app uniques is that the kids can customize their monster. By changing the cartoon monster’s hair and clothes, your child can have a monster that is uniquely theirs rather than something that is simply predesigned.

An added bonus is that the children are able to play with their monsters for a short while before they actually get into the business of brushing their teeth. Once they do begin the brushing, their unique little monster will guide them step by step while also singing to them and timing them for the recommended 2 minutes each session.

5. Brush DJ App

When it comes to teeth brushing apps for kids, you can’t go wrong with the Brush DJ app. Maybe your kid wants to be a dancer or singer when they grow up. Perhaps they simply love music.

The wonderful concept of the Brush DJ app is that it can connect to your iPad, iPhone, or another device so that your kid can dance in the morning and evening as they practice their oral hygiene routine.

Whatever their favorite song is, as long as you have it on your device, you can play it for them during the dentist-suggested time frame of 2 minutes of brushing. Additionally, you make a playlist with them so they can be entertained by multiple songs rather than the same one again and again.

Additionally, the app will keep your child informed about when its time to replace their toothbrush and even remind them of upcoming dental appointments.

Are You Ready to Use One of These Teeth Brushing Apps?

Now that you know all about 5 teeth brushing apps for kids, you can help your child develop the best oral hygiene habits so they can always have a shiny and healthy smile.

With regular cleanings and checkups, the experienced dentists at Webster Family Dental can ensure that you and your kid’s teeth are as healthy as can be. From cosmetic dentistry to emergency dentistry and more, we take pride in giving families confident and radiant smiles. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about our highly-rated services.