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By Dr. Charles Bohle
February 04, 2015
Category: Oral Health

How Long Should I Brush My Teeth? 

  How long to  brush teeth                                                
Everybody probably knows that their dentist tells them they need to brush twice a day. Do you brush twice a day? It’s even considered better to brush after every meal, but unless you work in a dental office where there are toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss everywhere, who could really do that? When you do brush your teeth how long are you supposed to brush them for? I tell all of our patients that each time you brush, you should be brushing your teeth for a minimum of 2 minutes.
With that said just because you brush for 2 minutes doesn’t mean you are doing a good job. I could give my 6 year old a toothbrush for 2 minutes and he would have more toothpaste on his face then his teeth. So you have to be conscious of what you are doing. If you have all of your teeth minus the wisdom teeth, then you have 28 teeth. Each tooth has 4 surfaces that need to be cleaned, and two of each can’t fully be reached with a toothbrush. So now that we know we should be spending 2 minutes at least twice a day brushing, let’s talk about the right way to do it.
The main objectives to brushing are:
•    Remove bacteria
•    Apply toothpaste which has cavity preventing agents
•    Eliminate bad breath
•    Sanitize the oral cavity
If you brush your teeth correctly, and you remove all the plaque and bacteria, you must incorporate floss. So let me break this down into steps for you:
1.    Use dental floss FIRST to remove plaque and bacteria from between each tooth. (don’t forget to floss the back side of the back teeth, just because there isn’t an adjacent tooth doesn’t mean it doesn’t have plaque and bacteria back there!) Flossing before brushing is a must, because it allows all the cavity preventing agents in toothpaste to get between the teeth.
2.    Brush your teeth, it is best to come up with a brushing routine. This ensures that you aren’t missing any teeth when you brush. Start brushing from a molar region on one side and brush from that tooth to the opposite molar region, then go to the back side of the tooth and brush from that molar to the molar you started with, then repeat on the opposing arch. You can switch up your starting point to make sure you aren’t brushing certain teeth longer than others. Remember to brush your teeth and do a good job you have to brush for minimum of 2 minutes.
3.    Brush your tongue! Remove all the toothpaste from your toothbrush before doing this. Then stick your tongue out and start from the part of your tongue that is closest to your throat and slide the toothbrush down in one motion. Clean the toothbrush off with running water and repeat. A lot of people clean their tongue by swirling the toothbrush around all over but that does nothing other than just moving the bacteria around and we want to remove it to get rid of the bad breath.
4.    Last step is to swish mouth rinse. I personally recommend Listerine Antiseptic. It doesn’t just mask bad breath it actually kills the bacteria. If you do use Listerine Antiseptic, know that it doesn’t do its full job unless you swish it for a minimum of 30 seconds, and you do not have to get a mouth full. Just a small amount will do the trick.
Now you know the secret to a clean mouth. You have to brush for 2 minutes and incorporate floss, cleaning your tongue, and mouth rinse! Even if you can’t do all these steps twice a day, at least do them before bed.
Bacteria grows best in a warm, moist, dark area, and that couldn’t describe our mouths any better. So, please don’t skip brushing, flossing, and mouth rinse before bed, you don’t want to grow bacteria in your mouth all night do you?

Click here for a video on how to brush your teeth.     For an appointment, click here.  To learn about all of our services, click here.

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