Considering that it is something we all (or at least most of us) do every day, there is still a lot of misunderstanding about exactly which is the correct and best way to brush your teeth. So here is the definitive guide to brushing your teeth from dentists Manchester specialist, Carisbrook Dental. Why do you need to brush your teeth? Electric or manual toothbrush? How often and when? Toothpaste or just brushing? Water or mouthwash? Flossing or interdental brush? And what about children’s teeth?
Why do you need to brush your teeth?
Quite simply you should brush your teeth in order to remove the build up of plaque, which is a sticky coating of bacteria that attaches itself to the surface of your teeth. Bacteria can irritate gums, convert sugar into acid and subsequently erode the teeth. It can also be the cause of bad breath.
Electric or manual toothbrush?
Electric toothbrushes are not just for lazy people, but unless you fully understand how to brush your teeth manually they do generally do a better job. Especially those that have an oscillating head. In fact it has been claimed that an electric brush can produce a 21% reduction in plaque. If you do use a manual toothbrush it is better to choose one with a medium bristle and a small head to more easily reach all the nooks and crannies. At Carisbrook Dental we sell a range of toothbrushes, including electric ones, contact us for more details about the type we would recommend for you.
How often and when?
As one of the leading Manchester dentists, like other dental professionals, we recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day – immediately you get up and just before you go to bed. We also recommend that you spend at least half a minute on each quarter of your mouth. If you look on our Hygiene page you will see that there is a good explanation about the correct teeth cleaning methods along with a video that demonstrates the recommended technique.
Toothpaste or just brushing?
Simply brushing will remove much of the food deposits and some of the plaque from your teeth, but a good quality toothpaste that contains fluoride also helps to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride gets into our teeth during ‘remineralising’ and so it helps to strengthen them. We recommend that you stay away from toothpastes that incorporate additives such as bicarbonate of soda. This is just too abrasive. Think of the effects of a scouring pad on a non-stick pan!
Water or mouthwash?
We always advise that you don’t rinse your mouth with water or a mouthwash after brushing. You just wash the fluoride you have used away and if it is a fluoride mouthwash you’re simply replacing the toothpaste fluoride with the same. Mouthwashes that contain antiseptics as well as fluoride can be useful if used in between toothbrushing.
Flossing or interdental brush?
Brushing is all very well, but it only cleans about 60% of the surface of your teeth, meaning that around 40% is untouched. Flossing will help to remove debris from between your teeth. Some dentists claim that interdental brushes are more effective than flossing, but that isn’t conclusive. We recommend that you use whichever you feel most comfortable with.
What about children’s teeth?
Although milk teeth do fall out to make way for adult teeth, they do serve as a guide for the position for the second teeth, so it is important to protect baby teeth and to prevent decay leading to lost teeth. The recommendation is to brush for two to three minutes twice a day, but any kind of brushing is better than none.
Finally, do I need to visit my dentist every six months?
Some dental experts say that once a year is sufficient, but at Carisbrook we recommend that you make an appointment to have your teeth and gums checked every six months as a precautionary preventative procedure. This gives us an opportunity to spot if there are any potential worries and to prevent minor problems from becoming major ones.
If you would like us to examine your teeth to ensure that there are no potential problems, or if you would like to discuss the best toothbrush options for you and your family, please make an appointment by calling us on 0161 951 7295 or fill in the form on our Appointments page.