When it comes to our mouth health, we are all unique, and every individual’s oral hygiene needs will be different. This is why dentists recommend brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste – as this has been shown to help maintain healthy teeth. But most people only brush their teeth once or twice daily; however, brushing your teeth more frequently will reduce the risk of developing gum disease and cavities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average person should be swapping out a new manual toothbrush every three to four months. It is recommended to do this to ensure the bristles remain effective and that bacteria do not accumulate on the toothbrush. If you use a powered toothbrush, replacing them every 12 months is recommended as they can get clogged up with bacteria and debris over time. Additionally, if you have problems with sensitive gums, you may consider replacing your toothbrushes every six months instead of three to four.
We also want to encourage you to floss after each meal! Flossing removes plaque from between your teeth and under your gums. Plaque contains harmful bacteria that cause bad breath and periodontal diseases such as gingivitis. So floss regularly to keep your smile in tip-top shape.
So here is what you should look at when buying a new toothbrush:
Choose one with soft bristle heads. Some bristles are curved, which helps remove surface stains and food particles easier than straight bristles. Also, check whether the head is angled or flat. Angled brushes tend to move better and can reach hard-to-reach areas on your teeth. The best toothbrush handles are comfortable while still being firm enough to remove stubborn foods like tartar and plaque. Try using a less flexible handle, so you don’t overstretch your jaw muscles.
Try these great tips from the American Dental Association to find one that works for you. Use it before bedtime – this helps you fall asleep without worrying about grinding your teeth. Buy a larger size – the bigger the hole, the longer the life span. And always choose a brush head where you see “shaving foam” around the base. This means that there isn’t any material left on the brush head. This makes cleaning much easier and prevents residue buildups.
If you experience pain while brushing, change the angle/direction of your brush head with the arch from 1 o’clock to 9 o’clock position. Brushing in that direction allows you to brush your back molar area but avoid the nerve along the side of your mouth and chin.
The American Dental Association recommends an adult should visit the dentist at least biannually for a professional cleaning. The recommended frequency of visits may vary depending on age and current dental status. While some adults can get by with less frequent cleanings, others (particularly those who smoke cigarettes) require regular checkups due to the potentially harmful effects of tobacco use on gums and other parts of the mouth. In addition, children usually require more frequent dental care than adults because they have fewer permanent teeth.
If you are not in good overall health, you will also want to see your dental hygienist more regularly. If someone requires extensive treatment or has had previous problems with their teeth or gums, there will always be more frequent appointments.