Now, another important daily ritual that is often misunderstood is brushing teeth. To be fair, the name of this activity is itself misleading. I mean, what is brushing? You take a brush and run it along something, right?
I brushed my teeth diligently twice a day for as long as I can remember. Still, when I went to the dentist, my teeth were not alright. Until now I shudder when I hear a dentist’s drill. So it came as no surprise to me when I learned that I had been doing it wrong all along. Turns out, if your gums are bleeding after brushing teeth, it is not a sign of diligence. Who’d know?
The proper way to “brush” teeth is to actually massage them. The brush stays in place in place, its bristles pushing into the gaps between the teeth. Wobble the brush in back in worth, but do not let it traverse across your teeth. This damages the enamel on the teeth and stops the bristles from cleaning between the teeth, which is pretty much the whole point of the exercise. When you finished brushing one spot, move on to the next one. You should be able to cover 4 teeth at a time (two on top, two at the bottom). When brushing at the back of your teeth, keep the brush vertically. There is a good video explaining this technique right here.
Another point to keep in mind is that ideally you want to hold the brush as around 45 degrees to the surface of the teeth, with bristle ends pointing towards your gums. Because taking care of gums is just as important as taking care of our teeth. Some nasty plaque builds up on teeth right around the gums, which in time can cause your gums to recede. This is an irreversible process – you’ve been warned…
Your choice of a tooth brush is important. Ideally, use a soft brush and proper brushing technique described above. Rotary electric brushes are great too. Their head and stroke are designed to work on one tooth at a time, preventing bristle bounce and enamel damaging cross tooth action.
So, a proper teeth brushing process looks like this:
- Apply a small amount of tooth paste on your tooth brush. You do not need to deposit a fat tooth paste caterpillar along the whole length of your conventional brush head. Electric brushes get it about right.
- If you prefer, wet your mouth with water before you proceed.
- Brush your teeth using technique described above. Concentrate on sections of your smile; do not work on the whole array of your pearly whites all at once.
- Make sure to brush the rear and chewing surfaces of your teeth.
- After about 2 minutes of this and when you’ve covered every tooth in your mouth, rinse your mouth with clean water a couple of times.
- Don’t forget to wash your brush.
When to brush your teeth:
- Brush at least twice a day: AFTER breakfast and before you go to bed
- It is a good idea to brush your teeth after EVERY meal, but hey, nobody is going to blame you if you don’t
- During festive seasons, when you eat a lot of sugary sticky food, it is a good idea to throw in another brushing session in the middle of the day
This about covers it. We’ll talk about tooth paste in another post, where we’ll go over ingredients commonly found in personal hygiene product. Until then, start teaching your kids to brush their teeth correctly. It will save them a load of pain and money in the long run. 🙂