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How About Some Brushing Basics

It may sound odd but a person can damage their gums and teeth by using a toothbrush. In fact, one of the most common problems that we see among our adult patients is actually caused by tooth brushing. We certainly do not want to discourage our patients from brushing and flossing their teeth, but it is important to understand the dos and don’ts of proper brushing.


The first step to proper brushing comes in selecting the right tool. You should pick a toothbrush with a size and shape that comfortably fits your mouth and one that has very soft bristles. While you may think that a firm bristle will clean your teeth better, the truth is that a firm toothbrush is no more effective than a soft toothbrush, and the firm toothbrush can actually cause damage to your teeth and gums over a long period of time.


When it is time to brush, place your toothbrush against the gum line and gently vibrate it back and forth across the surface of the teeth. Then place the brush back where you began and make at least five gentle sweeps of the brush along the surface of the tooth, starting at the gum line and finishing at the biting surface. Repeat this procedure until you have brushed the inside and outside surface of every tooth. To finish, use the toothbrush to gently scrub the biting surfaces of all of your teeth. When done properly this procedure should take two to three minutes.


Some common bad habits that you should try to avoid include applying too much pressure on the toothbrush or scrubbing the toothbrush back and forth across several teeth in a lateral fashion. Using too much pressure can cause toothbrush abrasion of the teeth and gums. Over time this can actually damage the surface of the teeth and cause the gums to recede, leaving you with that long in the tooth look.


When used properly, toothbrushes and dental floss can be great allies in the fight against oral heath problems.  If you have any questions, please ask your dentist or hygienist or call our office for more information about proper brushing and flossing techniques.

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