How to Brush Your Teeth
Daily dental care at home (i.e. teeth brushing and flossing) is a key element in maintaining optimal oral health. Both dental decay and gingival diseases are caused by bacteria that accumulate on the teeth. Bacteria attack the teeth and gingiva within minutes after eating. As a result, it is important to clean your after each meal.
How should I brush my teeth?
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles when you brush your teeth. Use a small amount of toothpaste and make sure that you go with the toothbrush on all teeth, even the ones in the back. To clean the chewing surfaces of teeth, go with the toothbrush back and forth. To clean the cheek and tongue sides, place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet and rotate the toothbrush using a gentle massaging motion. To clean between your teeth, use dental floss and wrap it around your index and middle fingers. Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it into a "C" shape, then wipe the tooth from base to tip.
Spend around 2-3 minutes every time you brush your teeth. Clean your teeth after meals, especially before going to bed. Some brands of toothpaste have ingredients (e.g. fluoride or anti-sensitivity agents) that help re-mineralize your teeth. When using them, avoid eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes. Also, avoid eating or drinking anything after night brushing except for water.
Which toothbrush should I buy?
You can select any toothbrush from any brand as long as it has soft bristles. Powered toothbrushes are also a popular option but they do not clean the teeth any better than regular toothbrushes. Powered toothbrushes, however, might be better choices for people with limited dexterity or for people who need assistance brushing. Regardless of the type of toothbrush, do not use a toothbrush with hard bristles. Brushing too hard with a scrubbing motion might lead to tooth abrasion and gingival recession. As a result, the root might be exposed and teeth might become more sensitive.
Finally, replace your toothbrush or the head of a powered toothbrush once the bristles start to bend. For most people toothbrush should be replaced every three months.
Which toothpaste should I use?
There is a wide verity of toothpaste in the pharmacy or grocery store. Most toothpastes are available over-the-counter. However, some of them might need a prescription from your dentist. There are multiple ingredients in toothpaste but fluoride is an important component. It helps in the prevention of dental decay. Certain brands of toothpaste have ingredients to reduce teeth sensitivity, re-mineralise teeth or restore enamel. Some brands also claim whitening effects. Although this might be true, the whitening effect might be limited and could result in abrasion of the teeth or sensitivity.
While some brands of toothpaste are not well established, other brands went through a rigorous process and obtained approval from the Canadian Dental Association or other regulatory authorities to support their products. If you are not sure which toothpaste best fit your needs, ask your dentist or dental hygienist for advice.