Brushing your teeth, like washing your hair, pretty much comes as second nature to us. After all, it’s something we’ve been doing twice a day since our first tooth popped through – that’s 730 brushes a year. So naturally, it’s just one of those things we’ve got covered, right? Wrong.
You see, this tends to be where the problem lies. When you’re doing something on a daily basis, it’s incredibly easy to pick up bad habits. So when our alarm clocks rings in the early hours of the morning, we can pretty much bet that the majority of us fail to give our toothy pegs the attention they deserve and unintentionally end up brushing them in the completely wrong way. Which leads to a whole heap of problems in the long run.
From brushing before and not after breakfast to changing your brush every three months, we’ve teamed up with natural toothpaste brand Taylor’s 32 to see where we could be going wrong. Here’s a step by step guide on brushing your pearly whites like a pro…
Angle the brush
Take your toothbrush and brush half on the front of your tooth and half on the gum. Tilt the brush so the bristles are pointing at your gum line. Repeat for every tooth, on the inside surface and the outside.
Set the motion
Move the brush back and forth, using short strokes. The tips of the bristles should stay in one place but the head of the brush should wiggle back and forth. You also can make tiny circles with the brush to clean the entire surface. This allows the bristles to slide gently under the gum. Move to a new tooth or area until all teeth are cleaned. In healthy gums, this type of brushing should cause no pain. If it hurts, brush more gently.
To clean the surface
To clean the biting or chewing surfaces of the teeth, hold the brush so the bristles are straight down on those surfaces.
To get to the back…
If you struggle to brush on the inside at an angle, try holding your toothbrush vertically instead. Use the same gentle back-and-forth or circular brushing action.
Floss, floss, floss
Never forget to floss! And when you do, make sure you’re flossing either side of each tooth! If you never get around to manual flossing, Philips Sonicare AirFloss Power Flosser, £59.99, does all the hard work for you, working its magic to clean between your teeth.
Don’t brush after breakfast
Many people brush their teeth after eating breakfast when they should be brushing before. You shouldn’t brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes after acidic foods and beverages. Why? Because the acids weaken your tooth enamel and brushing too soon can cause damage. While brushing before helps provide a protective layer which in turn will help prevent acid attacks.
One thing to keep in mind – anything that will stain a white shirt will stain your teeth – red wine, tea and coffee, we’re looking at you. So if you don’t want to give up drinking one (or all) of these, try investing in a good whitening toothpaste and to make sure you floss regularly to prevent dark stains between your teeth.
Changing your brush
Not everyone changes their toothbrush as often as they should – ideally we should be buying a new one or changing the head of our electric brush every three months – a worn toothbrush is less effective at removing plaque.