Brushing your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste is the foundation of your dental hygiene routine, but you do need to use the proper technique to keep your mouth plaque-free. Regardless of whether you are using a manual or electric toothbrush, it’s essential that you do it correctly. If you need help with plaque control we’re going to show you what the proper way to brush teeth with an electric toothbrush is.
The Importance of Brushing and Flossing
Your mouth is full of bacteria and during the course of the day and night, the levels of bacteria increase to create a sticky clear biofilm, which is known as plaque.
In addition to removing traces of food, your brushing technique also needs to remove plaque from your teeth. If you do not remove all the plaque it will accumulate on all surfaces of your teeth. Over time the plaque will harden to form a substance known as tartar. If you have tartar on your teeth, only your dentist can remove it during a professional dental clean. This is why you need to visit your dentist for a check-up every six months.
Everyone needs to brush their teeth twice a day: in the morning to remove the plaque that has accumulated during the night and clean your mouth, and at night to remove any food that might have got stuck, and any plaque that may have accumulated on your teeth.
Cleaning your teeth properly helps you to ward off dental decay and gum disease, both of which can lead to tooth loss. If you believe your brushing technique needs improvement or if you have struggled with dental decay, please ask your dentist for assistance with your technique.
Dental Hygiene: Your Options
When it comes to brushing you have the option of a manual or electric toothbrush. While both work well, their effectiveness really depends on the user, and how well you can manipulate the brush of your choice for a thorough clean.
So, what is the proper way to brush teeth with an electric toothbrush?
In order to brush your teeth effectively, you need to have
- A manual or electric toothbrush
- Fluoride toothpaste
- Dental floss
- Mouthwash (if preferred)
Whether you use a manual or electric brush, the correct way to start is to hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line. This is to ensure the proper angle of contact for maximum plaque removal.
The most effective brushing technique is to use gentle, circular movements to clean all surfaces of your teeth. Start at one side of your jaw, giving each tooth individual attention, and work your way to the other side. Don’t forget to clean the bite surfaces of each tooth, especially your molars where it is possible for food particles to get stuck.
Remember to brush your tongue using your brush or tongue cleaner if you have an electric toothbrush. Your tongue can harbour lots of bacteria and needs to be cleaned just like your teeth do.
Your manual or electric toothbrush head needs to be replaced every three to four months, or when the bristles are worn down. If your toothbrush head is looking worn before three months of use, it could be a sign that you’re brushing too hard.
It is recommended that you use fluoride toothpaste that is non-abrasive so you do not damage your tooth enamel. Fluoride is an important protector against the bacteria that cause dental decay.
You only need to use a pea-sized amount for each time you brush. Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste onto a wet toothbrush.
Your dental floss
Flossing is a really important but often neglected part of your oral hygiene routine, and it should be done every time you brush. Whether your brush or floss first is entirely up to you, what really matters is that you do it regularly.
Flossing enables you to clean the spaces that your toothbrush cannot access, like between your teeth and below the gumline.
In order to use string floss correctly, you need to make a c-shape with the floss, moving it up and down, and drawing it below the gum line to release any trapped plaque.
You can use string floss or you can use a water flosser, both do an effective job at plaque removal. Some patients prefer to use a water flosser, especially if they have sensitive gums, as string floss can be abrasive and cause discomfort if you don’t know how to do it properly or if you have sensitive gums.
When you are finished brushing and flossing you should rinse your mouth with clean water. If you are using a water flosser this may not be necessary.
Some people like to use an antibacterial mouthwash once their brushing and flossing have been done to make their mouth extra clean. If you have had trouble with decay or gum disease, using an antibacterial mouthwash may give you an extra layer of protection.
Brushing teeth properly with braces
If you have orthodontic braces you need to take more care when brushing your teeth. In addition to brushing the visible surfaces of your teeth, you also need to make sure that you clean all the components of your orthodontics correctly. Remember that it is possible for food and debris to be stuck to your braces.
Some patients find that brushing with an electric toothbrush is easier when they have braces. Using a water flosser may also be easier than using string floss if you have orthodontics.
For a step by step guide on the proper way to brush teeth with an electric toothbrush or for advice on your brushing technique please contact us for an appointment: (02) 9159 6237
Disclaimer: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner