Brush up: 2 Minutes, Twice a Day & Don’t Forget to Floss

The American Dental Association suggests that brushing for at least 2 minutes twice a day with a fluoride-based toothpaste is the best way to maintain gum health and prevent gum disease.  

What Type of Toothbrush is the Best?

In general, the main things to look for in a toothbrush are soft bristles and smaller heads.   

It doesn’t matter if the toothbrush arm is angled or has a specific shape of head or whatnot. Choose the type of handle and head that is comfortable for your grip and needs.

You may have heard people say that electric toothbrushes clean your teeth better, and it’s true that they could be easier for some people to use, especially those with arthritis or other movement problems with their hands and arms.

How to Brush & Floss

What’s more important than the type of toothbrush you use is how you use it. A thorough brushing at least twice a day for at least 2 minutes is what you need for optimal gum and tooth health.

You should be holding the toothbrush against the tooth at a 45-degree angle from the gums and can brush and floss in any order. Then, rub around the entire tooth gently and in small circles, using the top of the head for more difficult areas.  

Flossing can be done at any time of day, but preferably at night and before your evening brush. It requires not only a quick “nip” of the floss between teeth, but also wrapping around the teeth a little to scrape off the soft tartar.  Once you get into the habit, it is a no brainer to do at lunch or even while watching TV.

Should You Clean Your Toothbrush?

It’s essential to replace your toothbrush every three months or so to ensure that it’s clean and sanitary, and if you’ve recently been sick, you should replace it right away.

You can also clean your toothbrush regularly to keep it in top shape. To do this, you may soak it in mouthwash, store it in hydrogen peroxide (change it out regularly), or even boil it. You can also put your toothbrush in the dishwasher if you want to sanitize it.  

There are also gadgets called toothbrush sanitizers which use UV rays to clean them, but this is a more expensive option that truly isn’t necessary.

How to Get Your Family Brushing and Flossing (Better)

Some of us have had the experience of a parent or partner “nagging” us to brush or floss at some point in our lives. It can be a difficult habit to get into and to do properly. You may be in charge of getting your kids to brush and floss, too, but find it hard to “win” those arguments.

If this is a challenge for you, here are some tips for getting your loved ones happily into the habit:

  • Encourage flossing while doing other activities, like watching TV
  • Let kids use their favorite flavored toothpaste
  • Make it into a game with kids
  • Set a timer to ensure that they are brushing for at least 2 minutes
  • Make it part of a relaxation routine    
  • Show them the plaque on their teeth with a dissolving agent
  • Use positive reinforcement  
  • Set a good example

Want more information on how to get into better brushing and flossing habits? Contact a trusted dentist today!

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