Proper tooth brushing involves four things:
- a soft toothbrush
- toothpaste with fluoride
- the correct brushing angle
- brushing in a pattern
It’s important to brush at least twice a day using a soft toothbrush. The flexible bristles of a soft toothbrush are gentler on the gums and make it much easier to remove the plaque below the gum line, where periodontal disease starts.
Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride hardens the outer enamel layer of the teeth. It might stop a cavity in its tracks and give you more resistance to future cavities.
Angle the bristles of the brush along the gum line at a 45-degree angle. Apply firm but gentle pressure so the bristles slide under the gum line.
Move the brush over the entire surface of two or three teeth at a time in small, circular motions. Allow some overlap as you move to the next teeth. Tilt the brush and use the tip to brush the backs of the front teeth.
It’s fine to brush in any regular pattern you choose, but since the insides of the teeth tend to get less attention, you might start with the insides of the upper teeth, then go to the insides of the lower teeth. Switch to the outsides of the upper teeth, and then the outsides of the lower teeth. Brush the chewing surfaces of the upper teeth, then the lower teeth. End by gently brushing your tongue and the roof of your mouth. This removes germs to help keep your breath fresh.
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