Are you brushing your teeth correctly?

Even though we’ve been brushing and flossing our teeth for years and years, many of us are surprised to learn that we’re not doing it properly. Case in point: Did you know that proper brushing takes at least two minutes? Most adults do not come close to brushing that long. Here are a few techniques, scientifically named and established, to help you brushing efficiently!

Modified Bass or Sulcular Technique
The key to preventing and controlling gum disease is brushing around and under the gumline where bacteria and plaque tend to accumulate. In the Bass method of brushing, the toothbrush bristles reach under the gums to scrub off plaque before it hardens into tartar and causes gum disease:

1.Place the toothbrush parallel to your teeth with the bristles toward the gums.

2. Tilt the brush to a 45 degree angle and move the bristles slightly under the gumline.

3. With firm but gentle pressure, and while maintaining the bristles under the gum tissue, wiggle or vibrate the brush back and forth or use a small circular motion 15 to 20 times, before moving to the next area. The brush should cover two to three teeth at a time.

4. Sweep the bristles toward the chewing surfaces. This action sweeps out debris stuck between the teeth and cleans the entire tooth surface. The sweeping motion also helps prevent damage to the sulcus (the space between teeth and gums).

5. Brush the entire outer surface of the teeth and then continue the same technique on the tongue side.

6. To brush the insides of the front teeth, hold the toothbrush in a vertical position and use the bristles on the toe of the brush, but make sure they are getting under the gum tissue.

7. Brush the chewing surface of the molar teeth and don’t forget your tongue.

Charter Technique
If you have spaces between your teeth, see exposed root surfaces or have had periodontal surgery or gum recession, your dentist may recommend the Charter method of brushing. This technique is also effective for people with orthodontic appliances or fixed partial dentures (dental bridge).

1.Place the bristles on the gumline at a 45 degree angle pointing toward the chewing surface or crown of the tooth. This position is the opposite of the Bass technique.

2. Gently vibrate the brush for 15 to 20 counts, using short circular strokes or small back and forth motions, and then reposition the brush to the next area.

3. Move around the mouth in the same pattern, brushing all tooth surfaces, both inner and outer, as well as the chewing surfaces of the molars.

Replace your toothbrush every three to four months. Worn, frayed brushes don’t clean well, and older brushes can harbor bacteria. Don’t forget the fluoride toothpaste, which strengthens tooth enamel and prevents tooth decay. And floss at least once a day to clean where your toothbrush doesn’t reach. Flossing comes before brushing, more will be discussed in our next blog post.


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