Are you brushing your teeth properly?

Looking after your teeth now can mean less expense and pain in the future.

Looking after your teeth now can mean less expense and pain in the future.

This article was sponsored by Primary Dental Port Macquarie

It’d be tough to find someone who would say they don’t know how to brush their teeth. It’s a skill we learn in our toddler years and we do it everyday, morning and night, for the rest of our lives.

But how do you know if you’re doing it correctly? Teeth cleaning is not exactly something you discuss with friends and family, and old habits can die hard. 

It’s clear some of us are probably missing crucial steps in our oral care. But which ones? 

Here’s what Dr Khalil, of Primary Dental Port Macquarie, has to say about the right way to brush our teeth.

When it comes to your tool of choice, Dr Khalil says both a regular and electric toothbrush can be effective, but an electric toothbrush is ‘easier and more efficient’.

“I recommend an electric toothbrush for everyone, especially kids and the elderly who have limited dexterity,” Dr Khalil says.

Dr Khalil says an electric toothbrush is more effective than a regular one.

Dr Khalil says an electric toothbrush is more effective than a regular one.

He says no more than “a pea-sized” amount of toothpaste is required – no matter what your age.

“But kids should not use adult toothpaste (unless the dentist recommends it), as the fluoride strength could exceed the requirement and even be toxic in high doses.”

Dr Khalil says small side-to-side, or circular, motions along where the gum and teeth meet is the best technique for brushing, known as the ‘modified bass technique’. 

When it comes to the length of time, Dr Khalil recommends spending two minutes brushing. That’s 30 seconds spent focusing on each quadrant – top right, top left, bottom right and bottom left. 

Too much time spent on one section can mean irritated gums on the overworked spots and tooth decay in neglected spots.

Dr Khalil says people should spit excess toothpaste out, but there is actually no need to rinse the mouth afterwards. 

“Leave the residue from the toothpaste in the mouth after brushing for added oral care benefits,” he suggests.

It's important to clean the whole tooth, not just front and back. That's where flossing comes into it.

It's important to clean the whole tooth, not just front and back. That's where flossing comes into it.

And when it comes to flossing, “it's just as important as brushing”, says Dr Khalil.

“A tooth doesn't have only a front and a back surface,” he explains.

“It also has sides where the brush will never get to, so if we are leaving all enamel eroding acids in between the teeth and not physically getting them off with floss, decay will eventually occur.” 

This article was sponsored by Primary Dental Port Macquarie 

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