5 Tips For Brushing Teeth

When it comes to brushing your teeth, I’m sure you’ve already had lots of advice.

If you’re looking for some practical tips from a dentist on how to properly brush your teeth, that you can start using today, then you’ll love this infographic.

It’s a simple checklist that will help you maintain the health of your mouth and smile.

Tooth brushing tips

Here’s my take on the tooth brushing tips from this infographic:

1. Brush your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes at a time

I agree with most dentists that brushing teeth twice a day for at least two minutes is essential for your oral health.

I recommend tooth brushing just before bed and then one other time during the day.

It has been proven that cleaning your teeth properly twice a day can help reduce tooth decay by up to 50%.

2. Don’t brush your teeth after consuming acidic foods and drink

Using a toothbrush immediately after eating or drinking something acidic can wear away the enamel on your tooth.

Once lost, enamel cannot be repaired.

Which foods are acidic?

Grapefruits, oranges, lemons, limes and similar fruits are healthy but acidic with low pH levels.

Wines, beer and fizzy drinks are very acidic as well.

I recommend waiting at least 1 hour after you’ve consumed acidic food before brushing your teeth.

Examples of highly acidic foods and drinks.

3. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride

Fluoride occurs naturally in drinking water sources. Fluoride has been shown to make teeth stronger and help prevent cavities.

There are a few fluoride free toothpastes available on the market. These are available for various reasons.

But unless you’ve been told to use non-fluoride based toothpaste by a doctor or dentist, I strongly recommend only using toothpaste that contains fluoride.

How much fluoride should I use?

Fluoride is measured in parts per million (ppm). You can tell how much fluoride your toothpaste contains by checking the back of the packaging.

Using the correct amount of fluoride is essential to your oral health.

The diagram below explains the right amount of fluoride & toothpaste to use depending on your age group.

How much Fluoride and Toothpaste to use
Amount of fluoride and toothpaste to use for your age
  • For children under 3 years, use a smear of toothpaste that contains at least 1,000 ppm Fluoride.
  • Children between 3 and 6 should use a pea size amount of toothpaste that contains between 1,000 to 1,450 ppm Fluoride.
  • For adults and children older than 7 years use a full head of toothpaste that contains 1,450 ppm Fluoride.

Stronger fluoride toothpastes are available by prescription only, for patients that are high risk. Examples of patients that are high risk include orthodontic patients, the elderly and those suffering from Xerostomia (dry mouth).

How much fluoride should my toothpaste contain?

Fluoride is measured in parts per million (ppm). You can tell how much fluoride your toothpaste contains by checking the back of the packaging.

Using the correct amount of fluoride is essential to your oral health.

The diagram below explains the right amount of fluoride & toothpaste to use depending on your age group.

Amount of toothpaste to use
Amount of fluoride and toothpaste to use for your age

Under 3 years

For children under 3 years, use a smear of toothpaste that contains at least 1,000 ppm Fluoride.

3 to 6 years

For children between 3 years and 6 years, use a pea size amount of toothpaste that contains between 1,000 ppm to 1,450 ppm Fluoride.

7+ years

For children older than 7 years and adults use a full head of toothpaste that contains 1,450 ppm Fluoride.

Stronger fluoride toothpastes are available by prescription only, for patients that are high risk. Examples of patients that are high risk include orthodontic patients, the elderly and those suffering from Xerostomia (dry mouth).

4. Don’t rinse your mouth after brushing

Fluoride is the single most important ingredient in toothpaste and helps protect your teeth from damage and decay.

Rinsing your mouth with water or even mouthwash removes the fluoride you’ve just brushed onto your teeth.

Study’s have shown, people that don’t rinse their mouth with water after brushing have fewer cavities than those that do rinse their mouth with water.

5. Use an electric toothbrush

Knowing how to brush effectively with a manual toothbrush is a skill we should all have.

However, I still strongly recommended electric toothbrushes.

Electric toothbrushes have additional features such as:

  • Small heads to help access awkward molars and wisdom teeth
  • Two minute timers to ensure you’re brushing long enough
  • Pressure sensors to prevent you brushing too hard and damaging your gums. Brushing too hard causes gums to recede exposing the roots of your teeth, which can lead to other problems.
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