Brushing your teeth regularly prevents plaque from hardening into tartar, which in turn prevents bacteria from taking hold in your mouth and causing cavities, and which in turn prevents bacteria from flowing into the sensitive pulp of any given tooth and giving you an infected nerve or some other nasty complication.

In other words, it’s important to ensure that you’re brushing your teeth properly.

The Checklist

Follow these 6 easy steps for tooth brushing sessions that prevent tooth decay as much as possible:

  1. Get the right tools for the job – this means pick up a brush that’s curved in such a way that it allows you to best reach all the nooks and crannies in your mouth (every mouth is different, so a toothbrush that works best for one person might not be the right fit for another. Do some research). Most dentists recommend soft-bristled toothbrushes, as they’re better at removing plaque and other debris. Oh, and pick up some toothpaste with fluoride in it, too.
  2. Hold your brush at a 45 degree and brush the outer surfaces of your teeth using short, gentle, circular strokes.
  3. Once that section is complete, move on to the inner surfaces of your teeth. Once you’re done with that, hit the chewing surfaces.
  4. Don’t forget to brush your tongue.
  5. This entire process should last no less than 2 minutes. It’s easy for the mind to wander during this somewhat tedious process, but do your best to concentrate and make sure that you’ve covered every surface.
  6. You’re done brushing… now floss!

Common Mistakes

But that checklist doesn’t cover everything… here are a few common mistakes many people make while brushing their teeth that you should avoid:

  • Brushing too much –people say you can’t have too much of a good thing. Well, that’s not true in this case, as brushing too vigorously and/or often can wear down enamel and damage your gums. Keep your strokes gentle and brush 2 times a day, 3 tops, people.
  • Not using a toothbrush holder – Leaving your toothbrush directly on the sink or in place where it touches another toothbrush is not sanitary. Get a proper holder.
  • Not replacing toothbrushes often enough – general wear and tear makes toothbrushes less effective over time. Replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head if you’re using an electric model) when it’s noticeably worn down or after 3 months of use, whichever comes first.

Follow the aforementioned checklist and avoid these common mistakes and you’ll have a shiny white smile (as well as a cavity-free mouth) to show for it.

Feel free to contact us if you have any oral hygiene or other dentistry-related questions.