What You May Not Know About Teeth Brushing

Not a blog on teeth brushing!  What can anyone say about this topic that is not already common knowledge? Use toothpaste, brush regularly, and don’t forget to floss.  In a nut-shell, that’s Oral Care 101.  It’s not rocket science.  That said, every day we see patients who use improper brushing techniques. This post focuses on the fundamentals of brushing your teeth because they’re worth repeating: frequency matters and don’t forget to brush your gums!

One of the most common questions we hear is “do I need to brush twice every day?” The best answer is “yes”.  Some people have very strong teeth based on their genetics and don’t eat a lot of sugar. They don’t drink pop or coffee and when they brush, they also floss. They have genetics and lifestyle on their side and once a day may be adequate for them.  But this does not describe most people.

At Cooper Moss, this is the message we try to convey to every patient. If you follow proper brushing techniques, a second brushing session only helps your oral hygiene. Today you may have good oral health, but you might have a predisposition to tooth decay or gingivitis. By getting in the habit of brushing twice a day, even when you don’t have a problem, your best offense (brushing) can also be your best defense.

It is not uncommon to see people with healthy teeth but gums that are inflamed and in terrible condition. This happens for two main reasons: failure to brush the gums and/or improper gum brushing technique.  The importance of healthy gums can’t be over stated.  Keeping your gums clean and healthy can pay massive dividends for the overall health of your mouth. One major mistake we see is when people use a hard toothbrush for their teeth and gums.  This can be disastrous when there is weak or thin gum tissue. The hard bristles of the toothbrush can exacerbate small problems and cause gum recession.  It may be inconvenient to replace a soft brush more frequently than a hard brush, but not as inconvenient as gingivitis. If your gums are sensitive, take extra time using a soft-bristled toothbrush.  You will do your mouth an immense favor.

To properly brush your gums:

lightly move the brush in a horizontal direction;
do not brush up and down or in a large circle (this may cause the gums to peel back from the base of the tooth and expose the roots of the teeth); and
hold the brush at a 45° angle and with the bristles towards the gums. (This will allow you to avoid using the most abrasive part of the bristles while accomplishing the task of cleaning your gums).
When patients follow these guidelines, our dental hygienists will spend less time cleaning and our dentists will most likely need to fill fewer cavities. A healthy mouth saves you time and money. If you have very healthy teeth and only brush once a day, take the extra 2 to 4 minutes for that second round of brushing – the benefits can’t be overstated.  Pay close attention to your gums. You can tell if you’re using proper technique when brushing your gums is pain-free. Go slow, be gentle, and be thorough. If you have any questions, please ask your hygienist or your dentist.