To maintain healthy teeth and gums it is important to brush at least twice a day.
The most important and most thorough tooth brushing session should occur before bedtime. The reason being that there is less saliva produced overnight. This saliva is essential for acidic neutralisation.
Do not brush immediately after sweet or acidic foods as the brushing action can strip off the softened enamel. Instead aim to brush approximately 30 minutes after eating.
The goal of tooth brushing is to clean the gum margin (where the tooth meets the gum) as well as the teeth. Brush systematically- outside surface, biting surface and inner surface. Partly closing the mouth to brush the outer surface of the teeth relaxes the muscles of the lips and cheeks and provides more room to clean the teeth.
- Hold the tooth brush at a 45 degree angle so that it is half on the tooth and half on the gums.
- Brush in a circular motion and with a vertical flicking action. Do not scrub horizontally as this gouges (scratches) the tooth and gums causing tooth sensitivity and gingival recession (gum shrinkage).
- Brush the biting surface of the teeth with more force, using a back and forth motion.
- Brush the insides of the teeth again with a circular and flicking motion. To clean the inside of the lower front teeth (the trickiest part) hold the tooth brush across the palm of your hand and raise your elbow to shoulder level, this will help to angle the brush downwards slightly.
- Spend approximately 10 seconds brushing each surface of each tooth. A thorough brushing session should take 3-5 minutes.
- A simple time guide for children is to brush for the time of one of their favourite “pop” songs.
- Brush with a soft tooth brush and a pea-sized amount of tooth paste. Do not forget to brush your tongue.
- For people with braces or other orthodontic appliances our dental team can give you more specific advice to clean the teeth, gums and braces.
- For people wearing removable dentures, remember to clean the teeth and the dentures separately.
Some bleeding from the gums may occur when brushing if you suffer from gingivitis. The easiest way to resolve this is to continue brushing by the described method as removing plaque from the gum margin will allow the body to heal this area. It usually takes a few days.