Brush your teeth properly

Brushing your teeth is indisputably the most effective way to prevent  tooth decay  and  gingivitis . But a bad toothbrush and the wrong cleaning technique will not get you very far: With daily oral hygiene, up to 33 percent of all tooth surfaces remain uncleaned and the spaces between the teeth are not reached. Therefore, only the interaction of a good toothbrush with a proven toothbrushing technique, supplemented by the use of other interdental care products, such as dental floss and mouthwash, helps.

Brushing your teeth is important for health

Whether for children or adults – a systematic cleaning method is important. Pressure, duration and technique are decisive when brushing your teeth. Under no circumstances should you clean with high pressure or “scrub” back and forth.

The critical areas when brushing your teeth are the  spaces  between your teeth, which are the hardest to reach. If they are not sufficiently cleaned of sugar and leftovers, bacteria that cause tooth decay quickly nest. The best way to clean your teeth is to use an appropriate brushing technique, such as the bass technique, a method that involves shaking and rolling a manual toothbrush.

bass technique

The bass technique is very easy: 

  1. The toothbrush is placed against the gums and teeth at a 45° angle.
  2. Press the bristles lightly against the teeth and gums and make small, half-tooth-width, back-and-forth shaking motions. This loosens plaque and removes it thoroughly and gently.
  3. Carry out at least ten shaking movements per tooth section.

A – more effective – alternative is to use an  electric toothbrush,  which performs the vibrations without your intervention.

Whether by hand or electrically: Always clean your teeth in the same order – for example first the outer surfaces, then the inner surfaces and finally the chewing surfaces.

Which is the right pressure?

The plaster pressure should be about 100 grams. Electric toothbrushes usually indicate excessive pressure with a flashing light.

Tip:  Test the correct contact pressure using a kitchen scale – you will probably be surprised at how little pressure is required. However, it is not the cleaning pressure that is decisive for good cleaning, but above all the cleaning duration and the correct cleaning technique.

How often and how long to brush your teeth?

It is most effective to brush two to three times a day after meals.

Even if it seems long, you should hold out for at least two to three minutes to remove all plaque residue.

By the way,  studies have shown that it’s better to wait a good half hour after meals to brush, especially if you’ve consumed acidic  foods  like orange juice. The reason: the acid dissolves minerals from the tooth, which the body can normally rebuild. Brushing your teeth, on the other hand, washes them away for good.

Make sure you have the right toothbrush

The toothbrush removes plaque and leftover food. In order to achieve a good result, it should have a short head and dense, rounded plastic bristles. Toothbrushes that have a bristle field that is adapted to the surface of the teeth are particularly well suited to reach hard-to-reach places.

After each brushing, the brush should be cleaned and dried upside down. A new one is due after two months at the latest.

Cleaning the interdental spaces

Even the best toothbrush cannot clean perfectly between the teeth. In order to remove food residues and bacteria where two teeth are in close contact (interdental region), you should use additional tools every day if possible. This includes dental floss and interdental brushes.

Using dental floss correctly: instructions

With dental floss you can also get into very narrow spaces and even a little into the crevice between tooth and gum. The type of floss you use – waxed or unwaxed, floss or Teflon coated – is a matter of personal preference; the effectiveness hardly differs.

Here are some things to keep in mind when using dental floss:

  1. Take about 50 centimeters of dental floss from the dispenser. Wrap these around both middle fingers.
  2. Then the dental floss is stretched over the thumb so that about 2 centimeters of dental floss remain free between the thumbs.
  3. It is best to start with the upper jaw. The stretched dental floss is inserted between the teeth with slight sawing movements.
  4. Then place the dental floss in a U-shape around one half of the tooth and thoroughly clean the interdental space with up and down movements. The opposite half of the tooth is then treated using the same method.
  5. Then it’s the turn of the lower jaw. The dental floss is wrapped around both middle fingers and stretched over the index fingers. Insert the floss between the teeth with light sawing movements.
  6. Now place the dental floss in a U-shape around one half of the tooth and make up and down movements to thoroughly clean the interdental space. Then treat the opposite half of the tooth using the same method.

interdental brushes

These are easier to handle than dental floss, but – despite different sizes – only suitable for wider gaps. A combination of both measures is usually recommended.

mouthwashes

Unless prescribed by a doctor, for example after a dental operation, these are not absolutely necessary. They do not replace the tooth cleaning described above and hardly have any additional effect. However, many people find the fresh breath pleasant. Medical mouthwashes (e.g. with chlorhexidine) may only be used for a short period of time as they disturb the natural bacterial flora in the mouth. Many preparations contain alcohol, so they are not suitable for children.

What else is there to consider?

Since the motor skills of small children are still developing, they cannot clean their teeth themselves. Pediatric dentists therefore recommend that parents brush their child’s teeth once a day with a soft toothbrush from the age of two and twice a day from the age of two. With increasing age, the child can help; However, the parents should clean up until about the age of eight.

In addition to medical dental prophylaxis, many dental practices also offer advice and instruction in cleaning techniques and proper  dental care  . Talk to your dentist.

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