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Keeping your smile healthy starts with your toothbrush. Choose a brush with soft bristles that's comfortable to hold. Soft bristles are gentler on your teeth and gums. Look for a toothbrush with a shape that can reach all parts of your mouth.
How Brushing Your Teeth Helps Your Mouth
Brushing your teeth removes bits of food and plaque. Plaque is a sticky, colorless mix of bacteria and sugars. It sticks to our teeth in a thin layer, and if it isn't removed, the bacteria can cause cavities and gum disease. Plaque left on the teeth hardens into tartar, also called calculus, in as little as 48 hours. Tartar can cause gum disease, and sometimes even tooth loss. Soon after plaque turns into tartar, you won't be able to remove it with your toothbrush—only your hygienist or dentist can remove it.
Seven Steps for Brushing Success
Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Let the bristles do the work—instead of squashing the brush against your teeth, move slowly and gently across the surface of every tooth.
- Angle the bristles next to the outer surface of your teeth toward the gum line.
- Gently move the brush in a circular motion.
- Gently scrub all the outer surfaces of the upper and lower teeth, making sure to reach the back teeth.
- Using the same circular motion, brush the inside surfaces of all your teeth.
- Scrub the chewing surfaces, especially the grooves that may collect food particles in your back teeth.
- Use the tip of the toothbrush in a circular motion to clean the front teeth.
- Finally, gently brush the roof of your mouth, the insides of your cheeks, and your tongue. This makes your entire mouth feel clean and may also freshen your breath.
Some people like to use a power toothbrush. Some of the newest toothbrushes can provide real-time feedback on your brushing via Bluetooth technology right to your phone. Use whatever toothbrush is right for you and gets you to brush two times a day, for two minutes.
Other Ways to Keep Your Mouth Healthy
- Floss every day to remove plaque from between your teeth and under your gum line, where your toothbrush may not reach. That’s where gum disease often begins.
- Make sure you’re up to date with your dental cleanings and exams. Call your dentist today to make an appointment.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice. Always consult with your dentist for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations.