It is important to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes to help keep your teeth and gums healthy. Plaque is a film of bacteria that coats your teeth, if not removed by regular and correct tooth brushing then this can contribute to the development of gum disease and tooth decay.
When should I brush my teeth?
Brush your teeth for two minutes last thing at night before you go to bed and on one other occasion every day.
Is it better to use a manual or electric toothbrush?
In the past studies have shown that electric and manual toothbrushes are equally effective if used properly twice a day. But recent studies have shown that electric toothbrushes might have a slight advantage. In a large study done by the Cochrane foundation, electric toothbrushes removed 21% more plaque then manual toothbrushes. Whichever brush you decide to use, don't get carried away with brushing. Excessive brushing with any type of toothbrush has its risks. Too much brushing, or too much pressure, can remove enamel, or the root if the gum has receded. This can lead to sensitivity (hypersensitivity) with hot/cold foods and drinks. A small headed toothbrush with medium or soft bristles is fine for most adults.
How do I brush my teeth?
- You should place the toothbrush on to the gum line (where the tooth meets the gum) at a 45 degree angle.
- Using small circular motions brush each tooth individually; make your way around the mouth cleaning all of the tooth surfaces both inside and outside.
- When brushing the inside surface of front teeth hold the toothbrush upright to ensure that the bristles reach right down to the gum.
- Brush the biting surfaces of the teeth using a scrubbing motion.
- After brushing spit out any excess toothpaste and do not rinse as it will wash away the concentrated fluoride in the remaining toothpaste, thus diluting it and reducing its effects
- Mouthwash should be used at a separate time to tooth brushing
Brushing children’s teeth
Depending on the age of the child you should use the appropriate size toothbrush and toothpaste with the right concentration of fluoride. If you are unsure which toothbrush or toothpaste your child should be using please ask your dentist/dental therapist for advice.
Children need to be helped and supervised brushing their teeth until they are seven years old.