image0045Your golden grin is responsible for a slew of daily tasks. You eat (sometimes healthy, sometimes junk), binge on coffee, talk your friend’s ear off, and yawn until the clock strikes 5…all with your mouth. While you have been taught how to keep it clean, are you actually maintaining proper dental hygiene? Is your toothbrush doing more harm than good? With the tips below, you’re sure to “brush” up on your dental hygiene!

Mechanic or Manual?

The age-old question, should I be using an electric toothbrush or some elbow grease and a traditional toothbrush? Invented in the late 1930s, the toothbrush was devised as an instrument to manually scrub or “brush” the plaque and tartar off of your teeth. While the styles of toothbrushes have changed throughout the decades, the overall purpose of the instrument has not. Thus, choosing a toothbrush depends on the person doing the choosing. When brushing, it is important to spend 2-3 minutes brushing in circular motions. Ensure that all angles have been accessed, and that you are reaching the surface of every tooth. If you find yourself with a little more patience and the willingness to do the work, a manual toothbrush is for you. As for those with less patience, an electric toothbrush may be calling your name. Circular motions are preset in electric toothbrushes, so the work is done for you. While some are installed with a 2-minute tooth-timer, they make sure the job is done for the right amount of time. Electrical or manual, the type of brush you choose requires care and concern for your teeth.

Bristles

Teeth are comprised of the same material as the bones which hold your body upright. However, these sturdy structures sit upon soft gum tissue which keeps your teeth in place. While the timing, placement, and movement of your brush patterns are discussed above, the bristles of your toothbrush are equally as important. Common variations offered include soft, medium, or hard-bristled. While some may think the harder the bristles, the harder the work is done. On the contrary, in fact, soft-bristled toothbrushes have been proven to be safer for your teeth and gums. When brushing, it is important to brush gently and effectively, rather than hard and inefficiently. You may tear and tarnish your gum tissue if using hard bristles. To stay safe and maintain plump, non-bleeding gums, stick to a soft or medium-bristled toothbrush. Studies have shown that the use of harder bristles can cause bleeding gums and worn-down tissue.

Time to Toss

Swapping your toothbrush out at least every three months is the equivalent of changing your car’s oil. The wear of daily oral activity can take a strain on your toothbrush. If you notice signs of ware and tare on your brush, it is time for a new one. Frayed bristles will not adequately remove plaque buildup.

While there are many variations to the traditional toothbrush, it is important you are using this instrument the right way. Ensure you are engaging in proper motions and placement of your brush strokes, be sure not to brush too hard or too softly, and replace your brush as needed. With these few helpful toothy tips, your toothbrushing is sure to keep that mouth bright and white!