- 2 minutes – 2 times a day
The American Dental Association recommends brushing for at least two minutes, twice a day. If at first this seems like an eternity, set a timer on your phone to keep yourself honest. The abrasives in toothpaste, combined with the acids left on your teeth from that meal you just ate, can erode the enamel of your teeth. Wait 15-20 minutes after eating before you brush, which allows the saliva in your mouth to work its magic on the acid.
Look for is a brush with soft bristles that can bend, which helps remove bacteria and loosen plaque from your teeth and under the gum line. Get a head size appropriate to your mouth size and make sure it reaches everywhere it needs to within your mouth. Electric toothbrushes promote healthier gums and less tooth decay. Replace every three months or if you’ve been sick.
There’s no need to waste money on products with extra whiteners and additives, which can irritate sensitive spots on your teeth. Keep it simple by using an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
- How to Brush
Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and ease your brush in quick strokes, using a light touch. Brush the chewing surfaces, the outer surfaces, and the insides of the teeth. Start from the gum and move vertically up and down in small, circular motions. This helps remove plaque by getting into the crevices of the teeth. Don’t forget about those hard-to-reach teeth in the back and any fillings or crowns, which are common traps for food.
Get your toothbrush bristles under the 2 or 3 millimeters of tissue where your tooth comes outside the gum, where bacteria grows. Flexible bristles, angled at 45-degrees against the gum line, will help ensure you’re reaching the gum line.