There are a number of things about toothbrushes that you should know, and when you visit our office for an appointment or checkup, we don’t always have time to go over everything.
That’s why I wanted to give you a quick rundown of the kinds of things you should know about toothbrushes: brushing technique, replacement, ultrasonic toothbrushes, and more!
First, let’s brush up on our brushing technique! If you haven’t heard about the 2min2x initiative, it’s a good reminder of the proper way to brush. It’s intended to get kids started with the right oral hygiene habits, but the technique is applicable to everyone!
In a nutshell, you should brush for at least two minutes, twice a day. That means one time in the morning and one time before bed. Brush for at least a minute on top and a minute on the bottom. I like to suggest that parents play a short song for their kids to listen to while they brush, and tell them not to stop brushing until the song is over.
You should also include at least one session of flossing and maybe a fluoride rinse or mouthwash. As for brushing technique, place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to where the gum and tooth meet and brush back and forth – but don’t brush too hard! As I always say, there’s no such thing as brushing too long, but it is possible to brush too hard!
How often do you replace your toothbrush? Many people just do it when they think their old one looks bad or worn down.
It’s a good idea to be more aware of the condition of your toothbrush, because it can start to do a poor job if it’s too old. I recommend you replace your toothbrush every four to six months. However, there’s one big exception!
If you’ve been sick, like with a flu or a cold, and you brushed your teeth during your illness (I hope!), then there are germs on the brush afterward that you don’t want to keep reintroducing into your mouth every day. After you’ve been sick, the best thing to do is throw the toothbrush out and use a new one. Then, the four-to-six-month countdown timer begins again!
Ultrasonic brushes work a bit differently than traditional ones. For one thing, the “handle” of the toothbrush is permanent hardware, and you replace the toothbrush head only as it gets used.
Another important point is the way ultrasonic brushes work. The heads are faster and more efficient, which means they wear out more quickly too. That’s why, for ultrasonic toothbrushes, I recommend replacing the head every three months.
As for the best ultrasonic toothbrush, we love the Sonicare from Philips.
Whether you go with an ultrasonic or traditional toothbrush, it’s important that you choose a soft-bristled brush and get the right head size. Experiment with different brushes until you find one that fits your mouth. It’s actually really important to get a properly sized brush, because bulky ones won’t be able to reach those crevices and remove plaque there!
That’s why we give you a customized toothbrush that’s right for you, because we pride ourselves on individualized care.
The only thing we recommend is that you stick to your oral hygiene routine, day in and day out! It’ll make a huge difference to your oral health and your quality of life!
And don’t forget your regular dental checkups for preventive cleanings! If you have other questions about toothbrushes, call us up or ask at your next appointment.
~Dr. Marea White