It may seem obvious, but proper brushing is one of the best methods of plaque removal that we have at our disposal, and many people do not brush their teeth properly. First of all, you need a good brush. If the bristles are bent out to the sides, it’s time to get a new one. Most people use their toothbrushes way longer than they should. Dentists recommend switching out your toothbrush at least every three months. So, if you been using that same toothbrush for six months to a year, it’s time to toss it out and get a new one. One way to remember that it’s time to get a new toothbrush is to change it with the seasons. When fall, spring, summer or winter arrives, go get a new one! Also, if you have a cold or infection, please get rid of your old brush and use a new one when you start to feel better. Otherwise, you can reinfect yourself with the bacteria that’s been left on your toothbrush.
Most dentists agree that a brush with soft, rounded, nylon bristles is best for removing plaque.
Small heads are preferred because they can get into hard to reach areas. For people who have limited manual dexterity, an electric or powered toothbrush may be best. Electric toothbrushes are also great for kids because they find them fun to use.
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You need to brush your teeth at least twice daily, ideally after every meal or snack. For most of us that’s not possible, so brushing two times, once when we get up and again right before bed should do the trick. However, you should be brushing for two straight minutes each time. Many of us rush through our brushing and spend closer to 45 seconds to a single minute brushing our teeth and that just isn’t long enough. For optimal plaque removal hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle along the gum line, and brush stroking back and forth across the surface of each tooth. Then brush the chewing surface of each tooth, making sure not to miss the teeth way in back. Next brush behind each tooth using up and down strokes and the tip of your toothbrush. After you have brushed every surface of each tooth take a few seconds to brush your tongue, ridding it of the bacteria that can cause bad breath.
The type of toothpaste you use is also important. Look for one that removes tartar and plaque. Tartar control toothpaste is made with mild abrasives to scrub the plaque off your teeth, before it has a chance to harden and become tartar. Once plaque hardens or calcifies, becoming tartar, it is much harder to remove from your teeth and can cause your teeth to decay and gum disease. Using tartar control toothpaste will help remove plaque and prevent tartar from forming.