Five Myths and Truths about Brushing Your Teeth

brushing teeth wrongDid you know that doctors have found a link between good dental health and overall health? There is a strong relationship between gum disease and diabetes, as well as gum disease and heart disease.

In addition to the growing health benefits, keeping your teeth in shape allows you to keep a beautiful smile and makes good financial sense too.

Are you brushing your teeth properly, though? We’re going to expose several myths about taking care of your teeth. Follow this great advice to keep your pearly whites looking great.

Myth #1: I should pick a toothbrush with stiff bristles; it will remove plaque better than a soft-bristled brush.

In truth, you need to pick a toothbrush with bristles that aren’t too stiff or too soft. This varies from person to person. The bristles need to be sturdy enough to remove the plaque on your teeth, yes; but you shouldn’t have irritated gums after brushing. If you make your healthy gums bleed, your bristles are too stiff.

Myth #2: If I sing “Old McDonald” or the ABC Song, that will give me the right timing for tooth brushing.

Unfortunately, these jingles are good timing for hand-washing (20-30 seconds), not brushing teeth. You should spend 2 minutes on each brushing session. The best way to ensure you’ve spent enough time is to set a timer.

Myth #3: The more I brush every day, the healthier my teeth will be.

Experts say that three times daily is ideal, though they realize for many this schedule is impractical. Brushing and flossing twice daily is often recommended by dentists and hygienists. Brushing 4 or more times a day can actually damage enamel (and could be a sign of compulsive behavior).

Myth #4: When brushing, I should set my toothbrush flat against my teeth at a 90 degree angle.

Many of us instinctively set our brushes flat against our teeth. However, we really should be tilting our brushes down a little lower to a 45 degree angle, and resting our brush gently against our gum line.

While we’re on the subject of toothbrush positioning, those long side-to-side strokes are not that great for getting teeth clean. Try short up-and-down motions or a circular motion with your toothbrush.

Myth #5: As long as my toothbrush is comfortable for me, I should keep using it to brush.

Absolutely not! The tips of the bristles can develop damage, which turns your brush into a bacteria hazard. After brushing, rinse your brush until there is no trace of toothpaste, then store it to air dry. In 3 months, replace your brush – or sooner if you see any wear on the tips of your bristles.

Have you replaced your toothbrush recently? If you can’t remember when you last changed it out, it’s probably time. Stop in and see us this week at Brian’s Pharmacies. Treat yourself to a new toothbrush, and while you’re here, pick up some new floss. You can’t go wrong by taking great care of your teeth.

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