Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for at least two minutes will help keep your teeth and mouth healthy and your smile looking fantastic. This is because plaque can otherwise build up on your teeth, which is a film of bacteria that coats your teeth if you don’t brush them properly. It contributes to gum disease, tooth decay and cavities, making staying on top of your dental hygiene very important.
Tooth brushing stops plaque from building up and should be an integral part of all of our daily routines. It is all about concentrating on the nooks and crannies and the spaces between your teeth, to make sure you remove as much plaque and leftover bits of food as possible. By doing this you are preventing your teeth from deteriorating and minimising the risk of things like gum disease and ensuring you have a wonderful smile and teeth.
When Should I Brush My Teeth?
Brush your teeth for at least two minutes in the morning before breakfast and last thing at night before you go to bed. Never brush your teeth straight after a meal as it can damage your teeth, especially if you’ve had fruit, fizzy drinks, wine or any other food that contains acid.
This is because tooth enamel is softened by acid and can be worn away by brushing. Instead, wait an hour after a meal before brushing your teeth to give your saliva a chance to neutralise the acid.
What Type of Toothpaste Should I Use?
The cleaning agents and particles in toothpaste help to remove plaque from your teeth, keeping them clean and healthy. Most toothpaste also contains fluoride, which helps to prevent and control cavities. It’s important to use toothpaste with the right concentration of fluoride for your teeth.
Check the packaging to find out how much fluoride each brand contains, or make sure you consult your dentist at our Saint Helier Surgery if you have any further questions about which toothpaste is right for you.
Children Aged up to Three
Use a smear of toothpaste containing no less than 1,000ppm (parts per million) fluoride.
Children Aged Three to Six
Use a pea-‐sized amount of toothpaste containing 1,350-1,500ppm fluoride.
Use a toothpaste that contains at least 1,450ppm fluoride.
Should I Use an Electric or Manual Toothbrush?
It doesn’t matter whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush. They’re both equally good as long as you brush with them properly. However, some people find it easier to clean their teeth thoroughly with an electric toothbrush.
Manual toothbrushes only have the ability to go back and forth, while the circular motion of electric toothbrushes and the rate at which they function, means they can get in between teeth with ease. This means they are more effective at removing plaque and debris, offering a more hygienic toothbrushing for your mouth.
How to Brush Your Teeth
The British Dental Health Foundation gives the following advice on how to brush your teeth, which is what our St Helier dentists suggest to our patients:
- Place the head of your toothbrush against your teeth, then tilt the bristle tips to a 45-degree angle against the gum line. Move the brush in small circular movements, several times, on all the surfaces of every tooth.
- Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth, upper and lower, keeping the bristles angled against the gum line.
- Use the same method on the inside surfaces of all your teeth.
- Brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several small circular strokes with the toe (the front part) of the brush.
- Brushing your tongue will freshen your breath and clean your mouth by removing bacteria.
How to Floss Teeth
Flossing is not just for dislodging food wedged between your teeth, regular flossing may also reduce gum disease and bad breath by removing plaque that forms along the gum line. By doing this, you remove potentially problematic pieces of debris, which can encourage the growth of bacteria, causing various dental issues. Instead, flossing at least once a day on a regular basis prevents this from happening and makes your smile and teeth look that much better.
-To floss, take 12-‐18 inches (30-‐45cm) of floss and grasp it so that you have a couple of inches of floss taut between your hands.
-Slip the floss between the teeth and into the area between your teeth and gums, as far as it will go. Floss with 8 to 10 strokes, up and down between each tooth, to dislodge food and plaque. Floss at least once a day.
-The most important time to floss is before going to bed. This ensures that the food and drink that has passed through your mouth that day, isn’t sat in your teeth all night.
-Floss before brushing your teeth. Your toothbrush can then get in the nooks and crannies and cleans up any dislodged plaque that has been left behind. It also removes any bacteria that has been left behind after flossing, giving you great breath before you go to bed.
-You can also use interdental brushes instead of flossing, especially if your teeth are very close together and you find it difficult to manoeuvre dental floss through the gap.
How to Brush a Baby’s Teeth
It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t use electric toothbrushes for babies or children’s teeth, so follow manufacturers advice surrounding the age your child should be before they graduate from a manual toothbrush.
Look for manual toothbrushes with small heads and very soft bristles for young children. For babies, finger toothbrushes can be very useful. They give you more control and precision, especially if your baby is new to brushing teeth and needs to get used to the process.
When to Start Brushing Baby Teeth
You can start brushing a baby’s teeth as soon as their first tooth comes through, this is a great way to set a good foundation for good teeth and good oral hygiene in the coming years. Much like our own teeth, you should brush your baby’s teeth twice a day using a very soft, manual toothbrush.
Buying toothpaste designed for babies and children’s mouths is also very important, as these kinds of toothpaste do differ from adult toothpaste. Children’s and baby’s toothpaste contains less fluoride, although it should be over 1,000ppm. For early babies, you only need to use a small smear of toothpaste each time you brush their teeth, then a pea-sized amount once they are 3 to 6 years old.
Here Is How to Clean Your Babies Teeth:
- Sit them on your knee and lean their head against your chest, as they get older you can stand behind them while they lean their head back, while you brush their teeth.
- Brush their teeth twice per day and build up the process of brushing their teeth gradually, so they can get used to all of their teeth being brushed.
- Ensure they spit out the toothpaste once they have done so, so they develop good habits from a young age.
Are Plaque–Disclosing Tablets Helpful?
Plaque–disclosing tablets work by dyeing plaque either blue or red and can be very useful at showing you which areas of your teeth you’re not cleaning properly. They can also be a useful way to teach children about the importance of brushing teeth and show them the areas they might be missing when they brush.
As the staining can last for some hours, it’s best to use these tablets at bedtime or when you are not expecting visitors as the temporary staining does last for some time, although it will be gone in the morning.
If you want to know more about teeth brushing, make sure you ask your local St Helier dentist during a routine dental check-up at our surgery. Alternatively, you can contact us if you have any more queries, as our friendly team would be happy to help.