A Helpful Guide to Brushing Your Teeth the Right Way
It is certainly known to you: healthy is more beautiful than unhealthy, maintaining your teeth properly gives you more beautiful teeth. But how can you best maintain your teeth? How often do you have to brush your teeth? Is an electric brush better than a manual toothbrush? These are just a few of the questions that are asked daily in a dental practice about keeping the teeth clean.
I will give you below advice on how to properly maintain your teeth. If there are still ambiguities, you can always contact your dentist or dental hygienist.
What do you need to brush your teeth?
The most important step to brush your teeth properly is to have the right tools with you. You can think of:
- Fluoride toothpaste;
- A manual toothbrush / electric toothbrush;
- Toothpicks, interdental brushes or dental floss;
- Mouthwash (optional).
What are the requirements for a good toothbrush?
There are many types of toothbrushes available in stores and online. In order to brush your teeth properly, they must meet a number of requirements, so that you can properly maintain your teeth.
- The head of your toothbrush should be small and narrow. This way you can easily reach all places in your mouth.
- The bristles should not be too hard. A hard brush can damage the gums and the root surfaces. So try to find a toothbrush with soft bristles.
- The bristles must be multi-tufted.
- The bristles are all the same length and stand upright in the brush head.
- Of course it is also important that your brush is not too heavy and has enough grip.
It is also very important that you renew your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Some bacteria remain on your toothbrush, so you should buy a new one regularly. It does not only get dirty, but the bristles can also bend. This usually happens after 3-4 months.
Try to pay attention to the amount of fluoride a person is allowed to use. See below in the table. Parents are advised to brush their children until the age of 12. The abbreviation for ppm stands for parts per million.
|Basic Oral Hygiene Advice
|Basic Fluoride Advice
|0 and 1 year
|Brush toddler toothpaste once a day
|Fluoride toddler toothpaste (500-750 ppm fluoride)
|2, 3 and 4 years
|Brush twice a day with fluoride toddler toothpaste
|Fluoride toddler toothpaste (500-750 ppm fluoride)
|5 years and older
|Brush twice a day with adult fluoride toothpaste
|Fluoride toothpaste (1,000-1,500 ppm fluoride)
How to brush your teeth?
Brushing your teeth takes about 2 minutes on average. It is important that you brush all the 3 surfaces well. (See image)
- Brush the outside surfaces of all the upper teeth.
- Also brush the inside surfaces of all the upper teeth.
- Brush the outside surface and the inside surfaces of all the lower teeth.
- For the chewing surfaces, use a firm back and forth motion.
Always start with your back molar and brush it forward. Make small back and forth movements. Brush each tooth or choose 5 counts and then move on to the next.
TIP: Try brushing your tongue every day! Did you know that there are more bacteria on your tongue than on your teeth? These bacteria can easily pass from your tongue to your teeth to damage it and cause bad breath. Try brushing your tongue daily, or consider using a tongue scraper to remove the bacteria.
Advice for brushing your teeth
- Try to brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Brush for 2 minutes.
- Use a small-headed toothbrush so that you can easily reach anywhere.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid damaging your gums.
- Always brush with fluoride, this ensures that you can avoid cavities.
- Also use tools between your teeth. You can think of (floss thread, interdental brushes or toothpicks). You must do this, because the bristles of your toothbrush cannot easily reach everything.
How to brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush?
Many people nowadays also brush with an electric toothbrush. The electric toothbrush makes the right brushing movements for you. So you do not have to worry. However, it is important that you put the brush head on the tooth properly, so that plaque can be removed more easily. You run the brush head 5 counts per tooth. It is basically the same as with a manual toothbrush.
- Try to tilt the brush without pushing hard, perpendicular to the gumline.
- Depending on the type of electric brush, hold the brush on the tooth for 5 seconds (the brush itself makes the brushing movement).
- When you go from tooth to tooth, do not forget the middle part between your teeth. You can here already remove a lot of plaque with the brush. Keep your brush still here for a while.
- It is important that you brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, not to mention your back teeth!
If you still can’t figure it out, you can always make an appointment with your dental hygienist so that he / she can give you a good instruction.
How to brush your teeth with braces?
Brushing your teeth with a brace is different than without a brace. Use a regular toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles. Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and also use a small interdental brush for between the teeth and the braces.
- First of all, brush the chewing surfaces of the molars in the upper jaw and lower jaw. Move the brush back and forth until the chewing surfaces are clean.
- Then you can brush the outside of the teeth where the braces are stuck.
- Place the toothbrush as diagonally as possible. Make small movements here, with the bristles of the brush moving between the bracket and the tooth.
- Do this exactly under the braces. Make small movements here, with the bristles of the brush moving between the bracket and the tooth.
- Brush the inside of the teeth.
- Use a interdental brush (see image above) to clean between the teeth and also between the braces.
Tips for brushing your teeth with braces
- Try to brush your teeth at least 3 times a day with a brace. On average this takes about 2 to 5 minutes.
- Try brushing after every meal and before bed.
- Choose a toothpaste with fluoride
- Brush especially where food scraps and plaque collect, especially around the braces and behind the wire.
- Do not press too hard when brushing your teeth.
- Do not forget to brush the edges of your gums as well.
- Use an electric toothbrush or a soft manual toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles. This allows you to reach difficult places more easily.
- Rinse every evening and morning after brushing, your mouth with fluoride-containing mouthwash.
- Try pink plaque disclosing tablets if you do not miss a spot with brushing your teeth.
How to brush your teeth after (wisdom) teeth removal?
Has a tooth been removed from you? After removing a tooth, such as your wisdom tooth. There are a few things to consider:
- You can brush your teeth normally, but try brushing gently around the wound site.
- Try not to rinse for 24 hours, to prevent the blood clot from rinsing out of the tooth, and you should not suck on the wound as the blood clot may disappear.
How to brush your children’s teeth?
- Use a specific children’s toothpaste and a soft children’s brush.
- Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste
- Place a toddler step in front of the sink
- Stand behind them and tilt their head back slightly.
- Encourage your child to hold the brush with you to show them the right way to brush their teeth.
- Stand in front of a mirror when brushing
- Angle the bristles towards the gum and brush the surface of the teeth gently, making small circles.
- Brush the insides of the teeth and gum
- Brush the tops of the teeth (the chewing surface), using a backwards and forwards motion.
- Get them to spit the toothpaste into the sink
Tips for brushing your children’s teeth
- Put your child on your bed or take it on your lap when you brush the teeth.
- Make sure you support the head and have a good look in the mouth.
- If your child is bigger and older, stand diagonally behind him / her.
- Place the toothbrush straight on the teeth.
- Brush gently and make short movements. This will help you to brush the plaque away.
- You can also use a electric toothbrush for children.
- Brush mainly the inside, outside and the chewing surfaces. Also brush the edge of the gums.
Image by: authoritydental.org