Are You Brushing Your Teeth the Right Way?
Let me guess. From the moment you held your first toothbrush, until now, you have brushed your teeth the same way. You may have switched to an adult toothpaste, but the method of brushing teeth is still the same.
Well, you are not alone. We are all used to the back and forth brushing motion until we feel our teeth are clean and slippery. I mean, we always think that the faster and harder we brush the cleaner our teeth will be and the sooner we can get out of the house for work or school.
Well, guess what? You have been brushing your teeth the wrong way!
You mean there is a right way to brush our teeth? There certainly is.
The reality is that our teeth don’t get the attention they need. And by brushing teeth faster and harder using the sawing motion, you are actually scrubbing away your precious tooth enamel – the protective layer that shields our teeth from germs and bacteria.
As a result, your teeth wear out sooner and age prematurely. It becomes more sensitive to hot or cold. And worse, it increases your risk of developing gum disease.
Not only it is harmful to your teeth, it also doesn’t clean as effectively. By using the back and forth brushing method, you are just bouncing from one tooth to another, entirely missing the spaces in between the teeth. These are the spaces where plaque and cavities like to hide. So by going back-and-forth, you are actually missing the goal of brushing.
So what is the right way of brushing teeth?
Proper brushing technique is really easy. It is so easy that you might feel as if you are not cleaning your teeth to begin with. But before we jump into the method, we need a change of toothbrush first to ensure that you can take full advantage of the technique.
Common toothbrushes we buy in the supermarket have rough, jagged-cut bristles that are not only abrasive to the teeth but can’t brush away bacteria and plaque. And no, do not choose brushes with hard bristles, always choose a toothbrush with soft bristles.
Contrary to traditional belief, soft bristles can clean the teeth more effectively than hard bristles. It is flexible enough to bend and reach the area just under the gum line, removing the bacteria and loosen plaque from your teeth and gums.
The Bass Brushing teeth Technique
It is all about that bass. No. No. not the song! I mean Dr. Bass who invented what became the standard and proper way of brushing our teeth. First, hold your toothbrush gently. You are not cleaning a tub filled with grime here. So, relax your arms and apply small movements which is required for the Bass brushing technique to work.
- Hold the brush at 45 degree angle to the tooth and gum
- The Bass technique is all about small lateral strokes along the gum line
- Instead of brushing, gently wiggle your brush to get the bristles down, in between the teeth and under the gum line
- Hold your position, count to five while doing the wiggle motion, and move on to the next teeth . Repeat the same process until you covered your entire mouth
This small brushing motion takes practice . It is not easy to unlearn the way we brush our teeth after all these year. Give it time and you will be amazed to see a much healthier gums.
Why is proper brushing important?
Proper brushing can maintain the health of your teeth and gums. It helps reduces your risk of developing gum disease. And we all know how serious that problem can be as it is linked to some chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.
And by using the Bass brushing method with soft, rounded bristled toothbrush, your teeth gets the attention and cleaning it deserves. Coupled with the wiggle motion of the technique, you are actually saving your teeth from damage and sensitivity.
Do not forget your tongue as well!
Your tongue is as much of a target for germs and bacteria as much as your teeth and gums are. Its rough texture, caused by the crevices and elevations found all over your tongue, makes the perfect hiding spot for bacteria to accumulate. Unless the build up is removed, it will continue to cause problems with your teeth and gums and can even result to bad breath.
Rinsing will not be enough. You need to brush your tongue back and forth, from side to side and rinse with water. It will be much better if you use a tongue scraper. Gargling with an antimicrobial mouthwash is a good idea too.
So before going to bed tonight, practice the proper way of brushing as recommended above and make it a regular habit. You will feel and see the difference in no time. Remember, a healthy mouth means a healthy body.
Peter Boulden is the head dentist at http://www.atlantadentalspa.com. In his spare time he likes to help people anyway he can, and his best spent time is a movie night with the family.