At home dental hygiene is often neglected due to our busy schedules. While many are diligent in maintaining good oral health at home others let it slide. The recommended daily regimen is brushing in the morning after breakfast and again before bedtime. Is it helpful to brush more often? Tooth Brushing Frequency The answer to the above question is YES and NO! It is most definitely possible to over brush our teeth. It is estimated that approximately 80% of us are over brushing. Some of us become obsessed, but we are brushing incorrectly and we are brushing with the wrong type of toothbrush. There is definitely such a thing as too much of a good thing when it comes to brushing your teeth. Brushing your teeth too frequently and too aggressively can damage the structure of our teeth as well as wear out the tooth enamel. Toothbrushes are designed to last around 3-4 months before they lose their soft bristles. However, frequent usage of the toothbrush would wear down the bristles and leave the bristles jagged and sharp, with serrated edges. When this happens, your toothbrush can then wear away the enamel and dentin from our teeth. As a result, you should replace your toothbrushes before the bristles splay so that you’re reassured that your toothbrush would not wear away your tooth structure. You also should choose toothbrushes that will not hurt your gums and teeth. It is recommended that a soft bristle toothbrush is used unless recommended differently by your dentist. Proper Brushing Technique 1. You should always try to choose a toothbrush with soft bristles. Tooth brushes can be chosen on individual preference. Basically, choose one that you are comfortable with. Also size of brush head is important. If the toothbrush is too large to fit properly in your mouth, you will be unable to reach the further most areas. For many an electric toothbrush will work best. Our office recommends the Rotadent (made by Zila) electric toothbrush but any would be fine if it is effective for you. 2. Rinse your brush before using it. A small amount of tooth paste is enough for brushing. You do not need to cover all the bristles with toothpaste. Just want enough on there for the paste to do its work. 3. Hold the tooth brush angulated at 45 degrees to your teeth towards the gums. Do not hold the brush flatly against your teeth. You want to be able to have the brush go all the way down to the gum line where most of the plaque resides. Paying extra attention to the gum line, hard-to-reach back teeth and areas around fillings, crowns or other restoration. 4. Start from the back of the upper jaw. You need to ensure you are cleaning all surfaces of the teeth effectively. There are three surfaces….. 1. The chewing surface of teeth. 2. The outer surface of the teeth facing the cheek. 3. Inner surfaces of the teeth. Start with 3 teeth at a Clean on all 3 surfaces of the teeth. 4. Use gentle pressure with short back and forth movements. Avoid using vigorous pressure as it is unnecessary. Let the brush and paste do the work for you. 5. After cleaning the 3 back most teeth, move on the next 3 teeth…..and so on. 6. After you have completed brushing your upper teeth, move on to your lower teeth and complete brushing in the same way as the upper teeth. 7. After brushing your teeth, brush along the gum line gently to remove any lodged food particles. Also, brush your tongue. Brushing your tongue will remove bacteria and buildup there to help with bad breath. Tooth Brushing Recommendations 1. It is necessary to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Most people do this once every morning upon waking up, and before they go to bed at night. You can also brush your teeth after your midday meal or snacks. 2. Use short, gentle strokes to clean your teeth. Brush the outer and inner surfaces, as well as your tongue. If you have to clean in between your teeth, then use vertical brush strokes. Then, you should brush your teeth for at least two minutes at a time. This would ensure that you have adequately removed all the plaque, food residue, and bacteria that may be in your mouth. 3. Remember to floss each night before going to bed to ensure that there is nothing stuck in your teeth. One last tip, would be the use of a plaque disclosing solution. This would give you a visual aid to see what areas you are missing or need work on. Toothbrushing Can Keep Away Tooth Decay Above all, you should visit your dentist every six months for a professional dental cleaning to remove any tartar or plaque build up. These regular visits would ensure that your mouth is as healthy as it can be. Your dentist would also use this opportunity to clean your mouth thoroughly to get rid of the tartar and plaque buildup. With the proper toothbrush, brushing techniques, and regular visits to your dentists, you are on your way to having a perfect, flawless smile. Just remember to regularly brush your teeth – and to brush them for at least two minutes!