As we all know, brushing your teeth at least twice a day is essential – after breakfast in the morning and before going to bed at night. Spend at least 2 minutes brushing, ensuring that all areas are cleaned – the inside, outside, and biting surfaces of each tooth. The key is to aim the toothbrush bristles directly at the gum line, rather than the top of the tooth, as this is where plaque starts to form. Gently move the toothbrush in a circular motion, which will clean away as much plaque from the gums as possible.
Manual or electric?
When it comes to choosing between a manual or electric toothbrush, it’s a personal choice – they’re equally effective at removing plaque and debris if used correctly. Both types need to be kept in tip-top condition. Over time, bristles become frayed and worn, so remember to replace the toothbrush or brush head every three months.
When choosing a manual toothbrush, make sure it has a small head for better access to the back teeth. Also, soft bristles are kinder on your gums.
A rechargeable electric toothbrush appeals to all ages and it’s a real winner for young children. While the kids are attracted to the bright colours, the electric motion of the toothbrush does the job effectively.
It’s also important to choose a toothpaste that’s fluoridated. Fluoride helps harden tooth enamel, reducing your risk of decay. Pick a low-fluoride version for children under six, using only a tiny smear (about the size of a grain of rice) when they’re under 3, increasing an amount about the size of a pea from 3-61.
Cleaning between teeth
Removing plaque between your teeth requires regular flossing at least once a day after brushing. Simply run a piece of floss (which resembles a cotton thread or string) between your teeth, using a slow, gentle sawing motion.
Nowadays, dental tape – a wide, flat ribbon of nylon that’s thinner than standard floss – has become a popular option, especially for beginners, as it’s an easier way to get between the teeth.
If you’re not quite sure how to clean between your teeth, or if you’d like help deciding on which option is best for you, get some advice from your dentist or dental hygienist.