ask your dentist if you're brushing your teeth rightHopefully, you’ve done it all your life, but brushing and flossing your teeth is only effective if done correctly. Even if you believe you’re practicing good hygiene, the dental plaque that you may be missing can still lead to tooth decay, gum disease, chronic bad breath, and other dental issues. Improperly brushing your teeth may prove as bad for your oral health as not brushing them at all. Luckily, correct hygiene isn’t difficult; just ask your dentist if you’re brushing your teeth right, and follow his advice if you aren’t.

Brush Away Plaque, not Tooth Enamel

You know the sticky stuff that clings to your teeth once in a while? It’s called plaque, and it forms when you haven’t brushed your teeth in a while. Comprised of hundreds of oral bacteria, dental plaque is the target of your hygiene routine, and removing it is essential to protecting your teeth and gums from disease. Carefully brushing every surface of every tooth and flossing between them can effectively remove bacteria and plaque. But if you scrub too harshly, you may strip your teeth of the enamel that surrounds them. Tooth enamel is the first line of defense against bacteria, and you should use a soft-bristled toothbrush (with the ADA-approved logo on its packaging) to gently brush away plaque and debris.

Tips for Brushing Your Teeth Better

  • Besides using a gentle hand, we also recommend maximizing your toothbrush’s potential with the following tips;
  • For best results, brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once, preferably before bedtime to curb bacteria accumulation while you sleep
  • Use toothpaste with fluoride. The mineral helps fortify tooth enamel, which is made completely of mineral crystals (mainly calcium and phosphate)
  • Angle your toothbrush slightly where your teeth meet your gums to better reach bacteria at the gum line
  • Using an antibacterial mouthwash will help combat malicious mouth germs, and your dentist may prescribe the mouthrinse if your teeth and gums are especially at risk
  • Visit your dentist at least once every six months for a checkup and cleaning. When plaque remains long enough, it calcifies (hardens) into tartar, which requires professional attention and tools to remove. Your dentist can also inspect your mouth for early signs of dental trouble and address them before they cause any significant damage
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