Search the word “hacks” on Google and you get a mind-boggling 82 million results. Depending on how many videos you’ve watched or blog posts you’ve read about hacks, you may think they’re the greatest thing ever – or the most overrated. Whatever you think of them, it can be a shock to find there’s a better way of doing a simple task you figured you mastered years ago.
Exhibit A: tying shoes. Turns out a professor of mechanical engineering discovered that most of us have been doing it wrong. As if that doesn’t blow your mind enough, most of us can also make improvements on how we brush our teeth.
We know, you’ve been brushing teeth your whole life and you figure you’re pretty good at it. That may be true, but we bet you’ll benefit from four of our favorite hacks for brushing teeth. Check them out, then let us know if you have any questions.
We’re also happy to demonstrate proper tooth brushing techniques during dental exams at our St. Petersburg, FL dentist office. If you need to book your next exam or do have questions, give us a call at 727-645-4727.
In the meantime, here are our four hacks for brushing teeth.
Brush for at Least Two Minutes
We know, you may think you’re already doing this. Truth is, you probably aren’t. Time yourself, and you’ll likely see you don’t spend anywhere close to two minutes brushing teeth. To put in the whole two minutes, try using the stopwatch on your smartphone. Or find a two-minute song you like and brush to that. Just keep the brush in your mouth; no using it as a “microphone.”
Some electric toothbrushes have a timer feature, which will help keep you on track. There are numerous apps you also may find helpful. Brush DJ, for instance, times you using a randomly-selected song from your playlist. It also enables you to set reminders to brush. The app is free and available on iTunes or Google Play.
Use the Right Kind of Toothbrush
The two most important features for a toothbrush: soft-bristled and with a small head. Soft bristles are easier on your teeth. A small head makes it easier to maneuver your brush, so you can reach hard-to-clean areas like back teeth.
Either an electric toothbrush or a manual brush works fine for brushing teeth. Some electric toothbrushes include extra features, like the timer we mentioned above. It’s up to you whether extras are worth the added expense. Electric toothbrushes are a good choice for people with arthritis or other issues with manual dexterity.
Take Good Care of Your Toothbrush
A moist toothbrush attracts bacteria. To prevent bacteria from collecting on your brush, rinse it with hot water after using to remove any toothpaste and store it upright so air circulates around the top of the brush. This should keep it drier and make it a less likely to attract bacteria. About once a week, clean your cup or toothbrush holder with hot water and mild soap.
Get a new toothbrush about every three months. If your bristles look frayed or worn before then, go ahead and swap it out for another one. To reduce bacteria on the brush, switch to a new one after you’ve been sick. Don’t use a loved one’s toothbrush for brushing teeth or share yours with anyone else.
Don’t Brush Right After Meals
If you brush your teeth right after eating, thinking it’s an oral hygiene best practice, think again. It’s better to wait a while to brush. Acidic foods and beverages weaken your tooth enamel. If your brush right after consuming things like citrus fruit, sugary drinks, or coffee, you could damage your enamel.
If you can, brush your teeth before meals that include these things. To remove acids from your teeth, drink a glass of water or rinse your mouth after you enjoy them.
Even better, avoid troublesome foods and drinks, especially soda and similar beverages. They are especially harmful to teeth if you sip on them over a fairly long period of time, like you might if you keep a can of cola at your desk. Acid produced by bacteria in your mouth stays there for 30 minutes after you eat or drink. So sipping a sugary drink keeps acid production in high gear.
We’re happy to talk to you any time about brushing teeth, or any other aspect of your oral hygiene! Visit our St. Petersburg, FL dentist office or call us at 727-645-4727.