Dr Bharti Sharma, (BDS M.BA (HCM), Dental Surgeon, Nadaun, Distt Hamirpur

Brushing teeth does not simply mean cleaning them for a whiter and brighter smile and fresh breath, but it is extremely important for overall oral hygiene and health. When you brush your teeth you remove a thin layer of bacteria that stick to your teeth that is called Plaque. Teeth should be cleaned in a correct manner to enhance their cleansing. This also maintains the overall health of the body. Here are a few suggestions that must be kept in mind to maintain a healthy set of teeth.

  1. a) Use the right kind of toothbrush; b) Replace your toothbrush regularly; c) Use a fluoride toothpaste.
  2. The correct brushing technique.
  3. Finishing up.
  4. Do’s and Don’t’s.
  • Using the right toothbrush — Use a good tooth brush to cleanse your teeth. Choose one with soft nylon bristles so that plaque and food debris is effectively removed from the surface without eroding the enamel and causing injury to the gums.
  • The tooth brush should be comfortable to hold in your hand and should have a head small enough to reach the posterior tooth in your mouth.
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly — The bristles of the tooth brush wear off with time losing their flexibility and effectiveness. You should replace the tooth brush as soon as the bristles start to play out and lose their shape causing a possible injury to the gums.
  • Always rinse your brush after every use and store it upright and uncovered so as to prevent microbes to harbour on the brush and cause infections.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste — Fluoride toothpaste strengthens the tooth enamel but should not be swallowed.
  • It should not be used for children under three years of age as it contains chemicals.

Brushing Technique

  • Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste, the size of a pea, on the brush. This is to avoid early spitting during brushing and also to prevent the risk of ingesting the toothpaste.
  • Set the bristles at an angle of 45 degrees to the gums and gently brush with short vertical or circular motion. Avoid brushing across your teeth.
  • Spend at least three minutes brushing and divide your mouth into quadrants – top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right, spending thirty seconds in each quadrant.
  • Brush your molars by positioning the brush perpendicular to your lips so that the bristles are resting on the top of your bottom molars. Then work the tooth brush in and out motion and move from the back of your mouth to the front. Similarly clean the upper molars by flipping the tooth brush over them a few times.
  • Brush the inner surface of your teeth by positioning the brush towards your gum line.
  • Gently clean your tongue without damaging the tissues.

Finishing Up

  • Rinse your mouth after brushing.
  • Rinse your toothbrush properly so as to remove the food particles and bacteria from it.
  • Finish rinsing with warm salt water or mouth wash.

 Do’s and Don’ts

  • Don’t brush too hard.
  • Don’t use someone else’s toothbrush.
  • Don’t skip brushing your teeth.
  • Don’t swallow the toothpaste.
  • Brush twice daily, after meals.
  • Visit a dentist every six months.
  • Wait for at least forty five minutes after drinking acidic juices like soda, cold drinks etc., before brushing your teeth in order to prevent damage to your enamel.

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