Many of our patients come into our Seattle dentist office and say they brush their teeth twice a day. We don’t doubt that this is true, but we also get a very different story when we perform our dental exams. There is a huge difference between brushing your teeth twice a day and brushing your teeth correctly twice a day.
Think of brushing your teeth like taking your dog for a walk. You can either let them out really quickly to “get the job done,” or take them on a longer walk twice a day. Even better, you go to the dog park! Obviously, your dog will be healthier and happier with these longer walks and opportunities for exercise. The same holds for teeth brushing and preventative dental care.
Techniques for Brushing Your Teeth
The next time you brush your teeth, keep these three strategies in mind. After all, it’s much better to spend an extra few minutes brushing your teeth now than to have to fork out thousands of dollars and hours of your time for invasive dental procedures down the road.
The Two-Minute Rule
You have to brush your teeth for two minutes. It’s that simple. We tend to do “drive-by” brushing, where we get every surface (or so we think) and call it a day. However, when is the last time you set a timer as you brushed your teeth? On average, we only brush our teeth for about a minute when we really need to double that time. Two minutes is actually much longer than you think — in that time, you could microwave a meal or watch a cheetah run a mile!
As a dental clinic specializing in preventative and general dentistry, we can’t emphasize the importance of setting a two-minute timer for brushing enough.
Brushing Every Surface
Just as we think we’ve brushed our teeth for a full two minutes, we also convince ourselves that we’ve brushed every surface.
The best way to ensure that we have indeed reached all corners of our mouth is to follow the same pattern as we brush. Start by brushing the outer surface of your teeth (the part facing toward your lips) on your upper jaw. Then, brush the outer surface of your lower teeth. Once you’ve brushed both outer surfaces, move to the inner surface of your top teeth and then your lower teeth. This might seem like enough, but it’s imperative to brush your chewing surfaces as well. This is where food debris does the most damage. As always, start with the top teeth and then move to your lower jaw.
Finally, end with brushing your tongue! You can even get a tongue scraper, if you want, to ensure that you’re brushing away the harmful bacteria that tends to reside on this surface.
Getting the Right Toothbrush
You can have a flawless brushing technique and brush three times a day, and you still won’t have excellent dental health if you’re using a bad toothbrush.
While the “right” toothbrush depends on each person, our dental clinic recommends soft bristles because they are extremely effective at removing plaque. Electric toothbrushes also represent a good option, as their smaller surface area can better reach those hard-to-get places. Plus, the vibrating bristles also help to remove plaque from your enamel.
The Importance of Preventative Care
If you want to make sure you are brushing your teeth effectively, you should schedule a cleaning or general dentist appointment at a local dentist.
During a cleaning, your dentist will be able to tell almost immediately the state of your oral health. If you tend to miss spots while brushing or flossing, there will be a buildup of plaque that will signify where you can spend more time brushing.
Additionally, your dentist can perform x-rays to get a detailed portrait of what the naked eye can’t tell us about dental health. It could be that you’re brushing properly, but that your tooth enamel is still decaying because of exposure to acids, such as coffee.
For a local dentist in Seattle, contact First Hill Dental Center today! As a family dental clinic, we provide cleanings, fillings, oral surgery, emergency services, invisalign and much more for the entire family.
Schedule an appointment today!