How to Brush Your Teeth
The first step is to choose a good toothbrush. You always want to use a soft brush with a small head. A soft brush is hard enough to remove plaque yet gentle enough to damage your teeth or gums.
The next issue is to select good toothpaste. In general, any toothpaste that contains Fluoride will do the job, unless you have special needs that are determined by your dentist. Two of the best brands of toothpaste are Colgate Total and Crest Multicare.
The first rule of brushing is to start from a specific location and work your way to the opposite side, continuing through the whole mouth to end where you started. This way you won't miss any area. Usually, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is enough. An adequate brushing should at least take 2 minutes and preferably around 4 minutes.
There are a variety of techniques for brushing your teeth, but one of the most popular ones is described here:
Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle toward the teeth and gums. Gently press against the gums, so the bristles' tips go in between the gum and the teeth. Then apply a few lateral strokes and roll down the brush to sweep the plaque away from the teeth and the gum. Repeat this motion 6 to 10 times and move on to the next area of 2 to 3 teeth.
If your mouth is full of foam, spit out and continue brushing. Your brushing is completed when you have brushed all the surfaces of your teeth, not when your mouth is full! On chewing surfaces, short strokes work best to get the plaque out of the grooves and pits. When brushing the backside of your front teeth, hold your brush vertically to reach the teeth better.
As far as brushing frequency is concerned, ideally, you want to brush your teeth after each meal. But if you can’t, brush at least twice a day- after breakfast and before going to bed.
Electric Brush Versus Manual Brushes
There have been multiple studies comparing the effectiveness of manual brushes as opposed to electric brushes.
Although not all electric brushes are the same, these studies conclude that electric brushes are more efficient in controlling plaque than manual brushes. Theoretically, you can do a very good brushing with a regular hand brush, but an electric brush's movements make the task easier and more effective.
Also, some electric brushes (Sonicare) produce sonic vibrations that are difficult to mimic with a hand brush! Other electric brushes like Oral-B and Rotadent have small heads that help you access hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. This aspect is more important when talking about someone with orthodontic braces or a history of gum disease.
Dental Health and Your Diet
Sugar is the main cause of dental decay when there are bacteria present. More significant than the amount of sugar you eat is the frequency of consumption.
Probably the worst thing you can do to your teeth is to drink a soda and have a sip every few minutes over a long period; the same is true for snacking. It is recommended that if you want to have a snack or soda or juice, it is better to have it after food, dessert, or have it in one sitting. Eating or drinking something sweet over an extended period creates a constant sugar supply for bacteria that causes tooth decay!
It is important to be aware of all the sources of sugar that are out there. It is not just everything sweet, but anything that can turn to sugar like pieces of bread. Cutting down your sugar intake is good for cavity prevention, as well as your general health.
But what about when you have to have sugar? The best way to avoid cavities is to prevent the sugar from staying next to your teeth. Brushing after eating sugar, rinsing your mouth with Fluoride mouth wash, or chewing sugarless gum can help. However, nothing has the effect of avoiding sugar!
Is there any food that prevents tooth decay? Well, not really. Some people believed that chewing foods like apples and carrots might have some plaque removal effect, but they still contain some sugar, so any advantage is not clear.
Another group of food that causes significant damage to teeth structure is acidic foods. If in frequent contact with teeth, things like lime, lemon, and grapefruit can cause serious irreversible damage (erosion) to your teeth.