Raise Your I.Q. on Brushing

The art of proper toothbrush use is easy to learn, according to Oakwood Dental Arts in Staten Island.

Most adults usually have 32 teeth, which can be thought of as 32 valued friends needing appropriate time and attention with a simple, basic, handy tool. That tool, however, is often underused or even misused, although it doesn’t have to be. In essence, there’s more to brushing teeth than many people realize.

Just like finding the right kind of tool in a hardware store, your Staten Island dentist at Oakwood Dental will recommend starting with the right kind of brush. This is an easy one: Whether with a manual or electric-powered brush, opt for soft bristles. Dentists believe that soft is the safest option. Stiff bristles could potentially harm gums and the protection provided by tooth enamel.

As for effectiveness, actual scientific studies of all kinds of toothbrushes are remarkably inconclusive. The best choice comes down to personal preference for whichever will get regular use. The same is true for a child’s brush.

With an emphasis on oral health, Oakwood Dental Arts likes the idea of brushing to music. The two- to three-minute length of a popular song is just about right for brushing – and at least twice a day. A proper technique has the brush at a 45-degree angle, which is about how a brush tends to be held. Gentle back-and-forth strokes first clean outer surfaces, then inner, and next the chewing surfaces. Don’t forget to brush the tongue; this can remove additional bacteria and freshen the breath.

Upright is best for storing a toothbrush, as opposed to laying it down, so that it can dry quickly. Bacteria thrive on moisture, and a dry brush helps ruin their fun.

Brushes need regular replacement. Money saved by postponing a new one might be foolish frugality if it leads to more frequent dental visits. Frayed or splayed bristles characterize a brush ready for disposal. And a toothbrush used during an illness is worth replacing. As a general principle, put a new brush into service every three to four months.

When you see your favorite Staten Island dentist at Oakwood Dental Arts, ask for instructions on proper brushing technique or toothbrush recommendations.  We want to help you keep your teeth clean and your smile beautiful for life!