Dr. Polly T. Michaels, DMD, DABOI/ID, FICOI, AFAAID Diplomate, American Board of Oral ImplantologyCALL TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT352.597.1100

Healthy smile

Brushing

Brushing is the best way to remove cavity-causing plaque and other debris from your teeth. Mechanical toothbrushes have been proven to be significantly more effective than any manual brushing.

Plaque, a colorless, sticky substance, reacts with the bacteria and decaying food particles in your mouth and when left on the teeth long enough, begins to erode the enamel.

It is recommended that you brush your teeth twice a day, usually after meals and especially before bedtime. Most people do not realize that our body functions slow down during sleep; this includes a decrease in the rinsing effect of saliva. Any debris left on your teeth in the evening remains in contact with the tooth longer since it is not washed away, and there is a greater chance of forming cavities.

Techniques

How long you spend brushing your teeth is as critical as how often you brush your teeth.

Here are some technique tips for brushing:

  • Many people simply brush for a few seconds, spit, and place the toothbrush back in the cup. It is very important to spend at least 2-3 minutes brushing your teeth. This helps to ensure that the brush doesn’t miss hard-to-reach or often neglected surfaces.
  • Be especially aware of your back teeth as they are difficult to reach and are often decayed simply because they are missed when cleaning.
  • Use short, circular motions and brush at a 45-degree angle.
  • Brush all surfaces of your teeth-the sides and chewing surfaces-as well as the lower portions near the gum line and crowns.
  • Gently brush other areas of your mouth, including your gums, tongue and “roof” of your mouth. These can be prime areas for bacteria to hide.
  • If you choose a manual toothbrush: Choose toothbrushes with soft, round-headed bristles. Avoid big-headed toothbrushes. Dental associations recommend that you buy a toothbrush with a compact head-1″ by 1/2″-so you can easily reach the small areas of your mouth.
  • Some toothbrushes today have wide handles. This helps you control the toothbrush better. So, choose a toothbrush with a handle that is long enough and wide enough for you to handle.

Home Care