How to brush your teeth?

From the right way to brush to choosing the right toothpaste, read on to know how to take care of your teeth

By Zoha Tapia

The first step towards a perfectly white toothy smile is brushing your teeth well. However, most of us tend to ignore the importance of brushing our teeth or brush incorrectly, thus not solving the purpose of doing away with dirt and germs. So, what is the right way to brush your teeth, read on to know more…

When to brush your teeth
It is advisable to brush twice a day for at least 3-5 minutes. “Brushing at night is important because if food particles are left in the mouth overnight it can lead to tooth decay, also the flow of saliva reduces at night. Brushing in the morning helps to clean the bacteria buildup from the night and give a clean fresh feeling to the mouth,” advises Dr CD Dwarakanath, Indian Society of Periodontology. If needed, you can brush more than twice a day or after meals as well.

The right direction to brush teeth
The correct brushing technique involves placing the bristles along the gum line at a 45-degree angle. Dr Dwarkanath suggests, “Gently brush the outer tooth surfaces of 2-3 teeth using a vibrating back and forth motion. Clean outer, inner and biting surfaces of teeth with a scrubbing motion. Do not put too much pressure as this can hurt your gums.”

Choosing the right toothpaste
It is important to choose suitable toothpaste that caters to your oral needs. For example if you have sensitive teeth opt for toothpaste for sensitive teeth and not a regular one. Avoid very abrasive pastes and powders, which would damage the tooth enamel. Dr Dwarkanath says, “Fluoride-rich toothpaste is helpful to strengthen the tooth enamel making it more resistant to possible tooth decay. It is also believed that fluoride reduces the amount of acid, which aids in thinning the tooth enamel resulting to cavities. Use medicated tooth pastes only under the advice of your dental surgeon.”

Why you need dental floss and mouthwash
Using an anti-microbial mouthwash is an important part of a complete preventive oral care routine. Dr Dwarkanath says, “Research has shown that essential oil based mouthwashes containing eucalyptol, menthol, methyl salicylate and thymol reduce plaque by 70% and gum problems by 36% over brushing alone.” Hence, keep a mouthwash at a visible spot in the bathroom so that you remember to use it every day. “The recommended dosage is 10ml full strength for 30 seconds morning and evening,” adds Dr Dwarkanath. Flossing your teeth is also important as it cleans the spaces between the teeth and removes food particles that may have gotten stuck in the gaps. Post a meal and after brushing at night flossing is something one shouldn’t ignore.

Picture credit: ToastyKen

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