Most adults, considering the length of time they’ve been doing it for, should know how to brush their teeth, right? Unfortunately not. A recent study has revealed that 9 out of 10 of us are still not properly cleaning our teeth, or doing it for the suggested length of time. In fact, it is believed that the average adult only brushes their teeth for only 33 seconds – the recommended length of time is around 4 times this at the 2 minute mark.
Most of us have probably heard by now that oral health has many links to our overall health, it isn’t just tooth decay and gum disease we have to worry about, it has been linked to serious health concerns such as heart attacks, strokes, and certain types of cancer. It’s for these reasons that people need to think more carefully about how they go about caring for their teeth and oral hygiene in general.
When a person considers trying to improve their oral health, one thing people often choose to consider is switching from a regular toothbrush to an expensive electric version. Some studies have pointed towards the merits of electric toothbrushes as the consistent speed is meant to help with cleaning your teeth. Some models also have timers helping the user stick to the two minute time period.
Whatever kind of brush you go for you need to make sure you are brushing your teeth with the correct motion. Generally, it appears that the majority believe that brushing back and forth with your brush is the correct way. The best way is actually to move in small circular movements over each of your teeth at the front and then repeat this process at the back of your teeth.
Another consideration is the angle at which you hold the toothbrush. You should aim to keep your brush at a 45 degree angle, which means when brushing your top teeth the brush will be tilted slightly upward and slightly downwards when brushing your lower teeth. You should be aiming to brush your gums whilst also doing your teeth, however you should do this gently. If you brush your gums too hard you could traumatise them, forcing them to pull back from your teeth and become increasingly sensitive. You should have a light touch when brushing your teeth and shouldn’t be over gripping.
Small brushes with soft heads help to avoid putting any undue pressure on your gums while brushing your teeth. You shouldn’t rinse your mouth out with water after you’ve finished brushing as well so that you maximise the effect of the fluoride commonly found in toothpaste. Another thing to avoid is brushing your teeth after you’ve eaten, especially if you’ve eating something acidic like sweets or fruit as brushing can actually damage your teeth. You should wait at least 40 minutes after eating before you brush your teeth to protect the enamel.
Gareth writes on a number of health and wellness topics on behalf of dental insurance provider AXA PPP healthcare