A Brush-Up on Brushing

A Brush-Up on Brushing

When you walk into any pharmacy, the sheer volume of toothbrushes, toothpastes, and other oral care products can be overwhelming. What type of toothbrush should you be using and how? In this blog post, we’ll tackle all of your questions about brushing.

The Basics

In order to maintain a healthy mouth, we should be brushing at least twice a day, for 2 full minutes with a soft bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. When brushing, it is important to remember to brush both your teeth and the junction where you teeth and gums meet. To accomplish this, your toothbrush should be placed at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. Once in position, the brush should be moved forwards and backwards in quick, but gentle, strokes. There is no need to apply heavy pressure. Make sure you brush ALL surfaces of your teeth, including the backs of your front teeth, and your tongue. Remember to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or as soon as the bristles begin to wear.

Manual versus Electric Toothbrushes

A common question we from patient is, “should I buy an electric toothbrush?” and oftentimes, that answer is very patient specific. In general, electric toothbrushes are more efficient (i.e. they accomplish the goal of plaque removal faster than a manual toothbrush). However, both manual and electric toothbrushes are equally effective when used correctly.

For example, if someone comes in for their regular 6 month cleanings with very little plaque and they report using a manual toothbrush, there is no need to shake up a routine that is clearly working well.

That being said, electric toothbrushes do have some attractive features like pressure sensors and timers. For patients with toothbrush related abrasion or those who struggle to brush for the full two minutes, an electric toothbrush might be the right choice. Additionally, patients with traditional orthodontic brackets should be using an electric toothbrush as it can be hard to floss around the wires and brackets.  Finally, for elderly patients or those with compromised manual dexterity, electric toothbrushes can be beneficial and easier to use. Electric toothbrushes come at all price points so you can choose one that fits your needs and your budget.

Ultimately, the choice of toothbrush is yours. Technique and motivation are much more important than the type of toothbrush you are using. At your next cleaning, ask about brushing! We are always happy to review any questions you have and to make recommendations.

Dr. Lauren Liebman

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