The 5 Commandments of Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth might be one of the very first skills you learned as a kid, as it is essential to good hygiene. You might have used a small, cutesy toothbrush and fruit-flavored toothpaste. You might have been taught to do the familiar up-and-down brushing motion on the front of your teeth, as well as how to swish water in your mouth afterwards to make sure everything gets rinsed properly. This technique may have sufficed when you were a kid with milk teeth, but as you grow older — and as your teeth becomes more susceptible to tartar buildup and cavities — your brushing technique needs to evolve as well.

There is a proper way of brushing teeth that goes beyond just moving the brush up and down the front part of your pearly whites. Here are the five commandments you should always keep in mind when you brush your teeth after every meal:

1. Invest in a good toothbrush (and toothpaste)

There are many options in the market—electric toothbrushes, those with natural bristles, those with tongue cleaning features and a bendable head, to name a few. Both manual and powered brushes can do a good job at cleaning your mouth, as long as you choose a brush that is comfortable for you. Keep in mind that your brush must be able to clean back teeth and hard-to-reach areas of your mouth, too.

2. Clean outer surfaces

Begin brushing the front of your teeth by tilting your brush at an angle and sweeping it back and forth along the gum line for both the front and back of your upper and lower tooth. Take care not to miss the front six teeth on the inside by the palate and tongue using the tip of your brush to remove plaque from the gum line, which causes cavities.

3. Brush chewing surfaces

Now that you’ve taken care of the gum line and outer surfaces, you must also brush the chewing surfaces. They are not as smooth as the front and back of your teeth and are always in contact with the food you chew, so they need special attention. Open your mouth wide and lay your brush flat against these surfaces, and brush using a gentle back and forth motion.

4. Don’t skip your tongue

Your tongue is one of the most overlooked parts of your mouth. Never miss brushing your tongue, as it is key in keeping your mouth healthy and to keep bacteria from building up on its surface. To do this, stick out your tongue and gently brush the surface. There are toothbrushes with special “bristles” at the back part designed specifically for this purpose.

5. Rinse properly

When you’re done brushing, spit out all toothpaste. Make sure to watch out for pink or red streaks – if you see blood, you must either brush gentler next time, or visit your dentist to rule out gum disease. Swish water all over your mouth to properly rinse out everything. You may also use a mouthwash as an extra step.

If you religiously follow these five commandments, you are on your way to getting a beautiful, sparkling smile. Till next time!

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