Are You Brushing Right?
The most common question my patients ask me at the clinic is "I brush twice a day, but why are my teeth are still so dirty?" It may sound harsh when I say "It's because you are not brushing correctly," but that unfortunately is the bitter truth.
This made me realise that a surprisingly large number of people are not aware of the correct brushing technique and so I thought to myself that since so many people I meet have this question, why not address this on my blog so I can reach many more and maybe help them understand what they could be doing wrong.
Brushing your teeth is an important part of your dental care routine. For a healthy mouth and smile it is recommended that you:
The correct brushing technique according to the American Dental Association :
Be sure to clean the surface of your tongue too, to remove harmful bacteria and freshen breath.
Besides brushing you also need to make sure of doing the following :
Another question I am repeatedly asked is, "why do my gums bleed even though I brush twice a day?"
First thing that needs to be understood is that healthy gums do not bleed. Bleeding gums indicate that there is an underlying problem that is causing the gums to swell and in turn bleed. The most likely culprit is plaque and tartar. Gums need a clean tooth surface to adhere to, if the tooth is covered with tartar, the gums get irritated and swell and bleed easily. Our natural reaction to bleeding gums is to stop brushing that area to prevent it from bleeding further. But that only adds to the problem, as more tartar accumulates and causes further damage. A proper brushing technique, flossing everyday and 6 monthly dental cleanups are imperative to maintain healthy gums.
A few things I have repeatedly noticed at my clinic are :
- Most people tend to ignore the areas of the teeth that are not visible to them i.e. the inner surfaces of teeth and that's where we notice most of the stain and tartar buildup.
- Most people are lost in thought while brushing and subconsciously, either brush too hard thereby damaging the enamel, or don't apply enough pressure and miss areas of brushing.
- The ideal brushing time is 2 minutes, twice a day, but that is usually not adhered to.
- A very high number of people do not clean their tongues! It is a must to clean your tongue every morning.
- Mouthwash cannot replace brushing, no matter how fresh you may feel after the use of mouthwash.
And last but not the least, almost every patient has asked me "which toothpaste should I use?" Any age appropriate, fluoridated toothpaste recommended by the Indian Dental Association is good enough!