Brushing our teeth is something we all do twice every single day but, according to experts, many of us have actually been doing it completely wrong. With more people than ever skipping their routine dental checkups over the past few years due to Covid, it is crucial to maintain good oral hygiene to ward off any painful emergencies.
In other words, if there was ever a good time to reassess our teeth-brushing technique, it’s now.
Luckily, we’ve called on two brilliant dentists, Mayur N Pandya, Dentist and Chief Clinical Officer of Together Dental, and Oral-B Expert/ Dentist, TikTok’s the Singing Dentist, Milad Shadrooh, to share the crucial steps to follow when maintaining good oral hygiene. You’re welcome.
Brush your teeth before breakfast
It’s the age-old debate: should you brush your teeth before or after breakfast? The former is the correct way, according to Milad Shadrooh. “When you sleep, loads of bacteria still builds up in your mouth and you get the plaque formation. So, when you wake up it’s good to remove all of that build up before having your breakfast and starting your day,” he says.
Use a good fluoride toothpaste
You need is a pea-sized amount of good fluoride toothpaste. Adults should use a toothpaste that contains at least 1,450 parts per million (ppm) fluoride. At night time, try not to rinse after brushing to leave a reservoir of fluoride which will help to remineralise tooth enamel and prevent cavities. During the day, after meals, use an alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash to keep your enamel strong.
The 45 degree rule
Place the head of your toothbrush against your lower teeth, and then tilt the bristles to a 45 degree angle against the gum line. Try and keep angle throughout the brush which gives better leverage to remove plaque and germs.
Small circular movements
Move the brush in small circular movements several times over the surfaces of every tooth. Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth first, and then go in and do the occlusal surface (inside) in nice circular motions all the way around. Move up to the upper set of teeth and repeat the small circular movements on the outside teeth first keeping the bristles angled against the gum line. To clean inside the surfaces of the front teeth tip the toothbrushvertically and make several small strokes up and down with the front part of the brush.
Always brush your tongue
The tongue carries both good and bad bacteria but its close proximity to the back of your throat means that it can potentially harbour viruses present in that area. Brushing your tongue helps to freshen breath and clean your mouth of any bacteria. Stick your tongue out and make several long strokes across your tongue to give it a good clean.
Clean in the right order
While many of us would automatically brush first, floss second and rinse last, dentists are advising that we need to completely reorder our steps.
In fact, you should do the exact reverse of the above. Start with a rinse with mouthwash to kickstart salivary glands, which helps to protect the gums from harmful bacteria. You should never rinse after brushing as it can wash away some of the helpful ingredients in toothpaste.
Next, floss to remove debris or food that has become wedged between teeth. Finally, brush with toothpaste for two minutes.
Clean in between your teeth
Whether you use dental floss, floss picks, interdental brushes or an oral irrigator, you’ve got to do something to get in between your teeth. “I would recommend doing this before brushing your teeth because the more you can clean away the debris from in between the teeth, then the better the chance of your toothpaste getting in between the teeth and the fluoride entering the hard to reach places,” advises Milad.