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You already know that brushing is an important part of caring for your teeth and gums.  What you may not know is that you could be harming your teeth and gums by brushing improperly.  The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing with a soft-bristled brush for two minutes, at a forty-five-degree angle, at least twice a day and using floss or another interdental cleaner.

Although the ADA’s specifications may seem trivial, they are actually very important.  Improper brushing can cause many of the problems that proper brushing is meant to prevent, and research has shown that over 75% of people are brushing their teeth the wrong way.

Bristles– Many people make the mistake of thinking that firm bristles mean better cleaning.  This is not true.  We don’t need to clean our teeth like we clean our floors.  Using firm bristles can actually wear away your teeth’s enamel, setting the stage for cavities, decay, abscesses, and a not-so-white smile.  Bristles that are too firm can cause tiny abrasions on your gums which lead to inflammation.  This gives the bacteria in your mouth a chance to cause gum disease.

The bristles of your toothbrush should be soft and rounded on the tips.  Rounded bristles will not poke and jab your gums like pointed bristles do.  Some manual toothbrushes and power brush-heads are available with different lengths of bristles to more easily reach areas between your teeth.  These are fine to use as long as the bristles are soft and round.

Two Minutes-Research has revealed that over 70% of people brush for just over a minute. The ADA has determined that two full minutes are required to thoroughly clean each surface of every tooth.  An easy way to make sure that you are brushing for the full two minutes is to use a timer.

Forty-Five Degree Angle– Most people hold their toothbrush flat against their teeth because it is an easier and faster way of brushing.   By holding your toothbrush at a forty-five-degree angle to your teeth and gums, you allow the bristles to reach under the gum-line and remove any particles you can’t see

Circular Motion-A back-and-forth motion is a faster and easier method used by the majority of people.  A circular motion is generally preferred because it moves more debris away from the gum-line so it can be removed.

Twice a Day-or after eating.  The optimal times for brushing are first thing in the morning and right before bed.  Unfortunately, a lot of people brush their teeth before bed, then drink some juice, eat a snack, or have a glass of milk.  Eating after brushing completely un-does any good you’ve done by brushing.  If you have to snack at night, remember to brush afterward.

The ADA seal on toothbrush packaging eliminates a lot of the confusion surrounding bristles.  When choosing your next toothbrush, look for the ADA seal.  The ADA seal ensures safe, rounded bristles and that your toothbrush will clean your teeth effectively when used properly. For more information Contact Us Now!