Practice Brushing Techniques in Your Free Time

28 Aug 2021
Practice Brushing Techniques in Your Free Time

Removing plaque buildup is the biggest reason that dentists recommend that you practice brushing techniques in your free time. Plaque buildup is a leading cause of tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Using and practicing proper brushing techniques can greatly reduce the number of cavities you develop.

First Things First — Learn the Proper Brushing Techniques

Wearing braces does present some additional challenges when brushing that we will discuss shortly. Let’s start with the basics, though:

  • Hold the toothbrush at a 45º angle from your teeth and gums
  • Brush back and forth using short strokes
  • Tilt the brush into a vertical position to brush the backs of teeth using up and down strokes
  • Don’t forget to brush your tongue to remove bacteria

Along with the basics, you should always use fluoride toothpaste approved by the ADA. Select a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every 3 to 4 months. Brushing should use short strokes and gentle pressure. Using excess pressure or a stiff toothbrush while brushing can cause damage to the surface of your teeth.

If you have braces, it will take extra time to brush and floss. You will need to brush carefully around the brackets and wires to avoid damaging them. Using a floss threader can help thread floss under the archwire so you can floss to your gum line. An interdental brush will also help in removing stubborn food particles trapped next to your brackets under your archwires.

How to Practice Brushing Techniques in Your Free Time

Although it may seem silly, practicing in your free time, with or without a toothbrush can help. When you position your hand and arm as if you are holding a brush, you are creating muscle memory. This helps your body know the right way to brush.

For instance, many children are taught to brush using up and down strokes or a circular motion. When you first get braces, that technique isn’t as effective as the now-recommended side-to-side motion. Additionally, using up and down strokes with braces can damage or dislodge archwires.

When brushing, you should try to brush for two minutes each time. Some patients find it helpful to use a timer. There are toothbrushes that have built-in timers too. Brushing for the recommended two minutes is more effective in removing food particles and plaque properly.

You should replace your toothbrush regularly. When brushing twice daily, the recommended interval for changing your brush is about every 3 to 4 months. If your brush shows signs of wear before then, such as splayed bristles, you should change more frequently. If you are using an electric toothbrush, the head should be replaced after about 3 months, or once quarterly.

Wilmington Orthodontics Can Help You Learn

In additional to helping patients with dental basics for great oral care, Wilmington Orthodontics can help with other oral care tips. Whether you want a straighter smile or any of the other orthodontic services available at Wilmington Orthodontics, please contact us.

You can begin with a Virtual Consultation using your phone. For questions or more information, you can submit our Contact Form or call our office at (978) 658-3310. We look forward to hearing from you.

For fun stuff, news and information, please visit our orthodontics blog, Facebook, and Instagram.