How should we brush our teeth properly? With vertical or horizontal strokes? You will be surprised by the right answer!
You never go to bed without first brushing your teeth. And yet, it is more than possible that you are making one (or more) of the following mistakes. It is time for you to fix them!
1. Brushing your teeth horizontally
Indeed, the TV scene of the couple in love who brush their teeth together holding the toothbrush horizontally on their teeth does not reflect the right process. If you try it for the first time, maybe you will find it somewhat strange, but the correct way to brush your teeth is to hold the toothbrush vertically in front of your mouth and clean each tooth individually with circular strokes. By the same token (only with a slightly diagonal direction) you should clean your back teeth also, paying these extra attention, due to the high percentage of the dental plaque which is usually hidden on the back teeth.
2. Using the wrong type of toothbrush
If you think that the more hard-bristled a toothbrush is, the more effectively it cleans the teeth, then you are wrong as the experts indicate. Choose soft or medium-bristled toothbrushes which will not injure your gums and teeth. Hard-bristled toothbrushes are for people who have dental bridges or porcelain veneers.
3. Washing your teeth the wrong time
Still half asleep, you head to the bathroom and with eyes hardly open you grab your toothbrush. Toothbrushing in the morning is an everyday routine. In fact though, you should not brush your teeth just to keep your breath fresh, but to remove food particles. So the right time for brushing is after the morning meal and not as soon as you wake up. Of course, it would be ideal to brush your teeth not only after the consumption of food, since dental plaque is formed even by the bacteria of the normal flora in the mouth. However, inasmuch as this is difficult for most people, the experts recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning after breakfast and once at night before bedtime.
4. Neglecting to replace your toothbrush regularly
According to British research, the average toothbrush contains more than 10 million bacteria. Therefore, it is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) to replace your toothbrush once every 3-4 months. The worn out bristles of a toothbrush cannot remove effectively the dental plaque or the bacteria.
5. Using a toothbrush exclusively
The toothbrush may clean adequately the surfaces of the teeth, but not the spaces between the teeth, where gum disease and cavities actually originate. This is why you should include dental floss as well as dental picks in your daily dental hygiene. Dentists recommend that you use them ideally at night before or after brushing your teeth. Dental floss is recommended for people with too narrow interdental spaces, and is necessary for people with crooked teeth. Choose the waxed dental floss for narrow gaps and the superfloss (a sponge like floss) for wider gaps. Dental picks are ideal for those who have quite wide interdental spaces, but also for people whose teeth are restored with porcelain veneers, have dental bridges, dental implants and bare teeth roots. Likewise, they are used by people who wear braces or have a periodontal disease (e.g. periodontitis). Do not forget to rinse the brush with water from tooth to tooth to avoid germ spreading. There are multiple sizes in the market. Choose the one that slides gently through the teeth without injuring.
6. Cleaning just your teeth
Well, if you think that by brushing your teeth you are all done, you are making a big mistake. The harmful bacteria formed by food particles are also collected on the tongue causing bad breath. In the market you will find specialised products for the cleaning of the tongue, but you may also clean it with your toothbrush!
FOR HIS INPUT WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK Mr. Theologos A. Sioutis, dental surgeon and implantologist.
Mirto Antonopoulou, VITA