The basic brushing instructions we were given in school taught us to brush in small circles or back and forth. Some believe a modified method is better.
For the outside of the teeth the brush should be horizontal with the bristles angles up to 45 degrees. Brush in small circles and flick the brush downward when each section is finished.
For the inside teeth the brush should be vertical, and moved up end down. If the brush head is sufficiently small it is possible to clean the inside in the same manner as the outer teeth, angling the brush at 45 degrees,
Some Common Mistakes:
- Replace the brush after about three months, or when the bristles cease to be straight.
- Wait 30 minutes after eating before brushing. If the food is acidic it will soften the tooth enamel, so your brushing will damage the teeth.
- Completely avoid hard bristle toothbrushes. These are far too abrasive on gums, and many pensioners have found a lifetime of hard brushes has damaged their tooth enamel. Complementary toothbrushes in hotels and planes are mostly too hard. Save these for cleaning jewellery and teacups.
- Brush for at least 2 minutes. Most people tend to brush for less than half this. Use a timer or watch. The fluoride in the toothpaste needs about two minutes to work effectively.
- Don’t rinse with water after brushing. This washes away the fluoride in the paste, making it much less effective. Use a mouthwash rather than water.
- Don’t store toothbrushes out in the open, especially in the bathroom. Toothbrushes attract all sorts of filth from the air. A cover for the brush helps slightly, but this prevents the bristles form drying, and wet bristles will breed bacteria. Find somewhere clean and dry to store the brush.
- It makes a significant difference.
- Scrape your tongue. Either buy a tongue cleaner or buy a brush with a tongue scraper on the back. Some people with bad breath find that cleaning the tongue almost completely eliminates the problem.
- Electric toothbrushes tend to be good, but use a manual toothbrush on occasions so you don’t lose the basic brushing skills.