How to clean your teeth correctly?

Cleaning our teeth looks very ordinary everyday activity to all of us. Everyone would say that they know exactly how to clean their teeth. But is it so? The dentist Geda Mažeikienė tells about issues, how exactly you should brush your teeth in order to achieve the maximum effect of an oral health.

1. Why should you brush teeth?

Dental plaque contains a lot of bacteria that cause diseases of teeth and gums. Therefore, it is necessary to clean teeth from dental plaque regularly. The fewer the bacteria in your mouth, the less likely that teeth begin to decay or inflammation gums begins.

2. How to brush teeth correctly?

Correct teeth cleaning. There are a lot of teeth brushing techniques, but often our patients are recommended to clean the teeth in circular or sweeping motions from gums towards the surface of teeth. It is necessary to clean all surfaces of teeth – on the side of cheeks, on the side of the tongue or palate, the contact and biting surface of teeth. A manual toothbrush is not always sufficient. Special interdental brushes or dental floss are usually recommended for interdental cleaning. It is also necessary to use a special brush to clean the last molars (also called “wisdom tooth”) that are hard to reach. “One tooth brushes” are used to brush teeth for cleaning braces during the orthodontic treatment as they are handy while cleaning surfaces that are hard to reach.

3. How many times a day it is recommended to brush teeth?

It is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day – after breakfast in the morning and after dinner in the evening, just before going to bed. Though your dentist may recommend brushing your teeth more often, when there are specific conditions.

It is recommended to rinse the mouth with water after each meal. This greatly reduces the production of acids. It will not be bad if the teeth were brushed after the main meals, but do not overdo and brush too often, because it can mechanically abrade tooth enamel.

4. How long should I wait after the meal to brush my teeth?

It is recommended to wait at least 5 minutes after the meal and only then you can brush your teeth. This is because, when we eat, the bacteria in our mouth turn carbohydrates that are in our food into acids, which affect our teeth and they become more exposed. After a certain period of time after eating, saliva neutralizes acids and the enamel is restored. Therefore, if you clean teeth immediately after a meal, you can damage the tooth enamel irreversibly.

5. How should teeth be cleaned to achieve the maximum result?

Using teeth floss

The main recommendations for cleaning teeth in a different state (curved, aching teeth or during repairing) remain the same, but depending on the specific situation different implements are selected for cleaning of teeth. This can be a special paste, brushes, interdental brushes, dental floss, rinsing liquids, gels or special dental creams. The most appropriate means for you are chosen by the dentist or oral hygienist.

6. What toothpaste is the most suitable for teeth?

Toothpaste

Currently, there is a truly great variety of toothpaste offers, but before choosing it is advisable to consult a dentist.

It is recommended to choose toothpaste according to your age and condition of teeth and gums.

Children from the age of 1 to 6 years should use toothpaste containing about 500 ppm of fluoride.  From the age of 6 years, it is recommended to use toothpaste containing 1000-1500 ppm fluoride as at this period of life permanent teeth start sprouting and fluoride is necessary for these teeth to be healthy and protected.

Adults are recommended to use toothpaste with fluoride for prevention. However, under certain conditions such as gingival inflammation, it is recommended to use toothpaste containing substances for reducing the inflammation.

Special toothpastes are recommended for people with implants.

Whitening toothpastes can help to maintain lighter colour of teeth.

7. What toothbrush is the most suitable for brushing teeth? How to choose it?

Toothbrush

You can choose from a variety of brushes that are currently on the market. The main criteria when choosing a toothbrush is the softness of bristles. It is not advisable to choose a hard brush, because we can damage the gums and tooth enamel. The best brush to your teeth is a soft brush with dense rounded bristles.

After periodontal or oral surgical operations it is recommended to use a special, very soft brush. Special brushes are recommended during the orthodontic treatment while wearing braces.

It is very important to remember that a toothbrush must be changed every 3 months.

8. Is it necessary to use mouthwash?

There is no rule that all must use mouthwash. However, there are situations when it is truly necessary.

9. What are the benefits of using mouthwash for oral hygiene?

There is a great variety of mouthwash. Some are used to reduce the inflammation, some are used as an additional source of fluoride in cases of active caries and others are used just to refresh the breath.

10. What things to consider when buying a mouthwash?

There are a lot of medical conditions and each case requires a different product. It is not recommended to choose mouthwash by yourself; you should always consult your dentist as you can harm yourself. For example, there are mouthwash liquids that should not be used longer than 2 weeks.

11. How to clean children’s teeth?

Cleaning children’s teeth

When child’s teeth have not yet begun to sprout, it is recommended to accustom the child with cleaning of teeth. It is recommended to use a soft cloth or a special finger brush to massage gums and teeth; and when they start sprouting, you should clean them. You can use a toothbrush and a very small amount of children’s toothpaste with a small amount of fluorine when your child is about one year old. It is important that after brushing in the evening and at night children will not eat or drink anything (except water).

Parents should brush teeth for their children up to about 7 years of age, and sometimes longer. Young children cannot clean teeth qualitatively, until they learn to write because their hand movements are not sufficiently coordinated.

Hopefully this article was useful and now you will clean your teeth better. The main advice is, if you do not know what to do in a particular situation, please contact your dentist and he/she will be happy to answer any questions.