Do you brush before you floss, or should you floss first? What about electric toothbrush versus a manual? Which is really better? There are seemingly so many different points of ‘advice’ on the internet. So here Dr Giulia D’Anna, founder of iDental, breaks down what you can do to get your teeth sparkling clean.
1. Brush twice a day for 2 minutes. Set an egg timer or your stop watch on your phone. Most people brush for around 20-30 seconds and move onto something else. This is too quick to do a great job.
2. At night, your clean should be really thorough so your teeth are clean whilst you sleep. When we sleep, our saliva rate drops significantly. This is important as saliva helps to neutralise acid. So less saliva, means less protection.
3. I personally always floss before brushing. Flossing helps to clean the tight surfaces between teeth, where tooth brush bristles cannot reach. The reason for doing it in this order is that fluoride can now make its way more easily between my teeth, and help to protect against decay or acid attack. Whereas if food or debris is stuck between my teeth, fluoride cannot get in there so easily.
4. Straight after flossing, I then brush my teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. Any brand is generally ok as they all offer similar fluoride levels. When I am done brushing, I spit out the excess foam and leave it at that. I do not recommend rinsing afterwards, or all the fluoride is gone immediately. By skipping the simple step of rinsing, you effectively are giving yourself a fluoride treatment every day, which is truly beneficial.
5. Water flossers are great for people who have difficulty cleaning between their teeth. Older people with arthritis, big hands and little mouths or teenagers with braces can struggle to clean between the teeth. Water flossers are like a high pressure water cleaner for teeth, blasting debris and plaque out of there.
6. There is little reason to use a mouthwash or rinse, unless prescribed by your dentist. Mouthwash tastes minty, and that is about it. They do very little for your health aside from making you feel fresh.
7. Use a soft or extra-soft toothbrush only. Medium and hard are not good for teeth and gums, as they are just too hard. The bristles cannot bend around shapes, like into grooves and so on, and literally skim off the surface. Over time this can lead to irreversible damage, where the gums are brushed away, the enamel near the gum line thins out and the teeth get quite sensitive. If you already have medium and hard brushes, don’t despair. Use them to clean jewellery or around the corners in your bathroom. 🙂
8. Get your teeth checked at the dentist at least twice a year. Once a tooth hurts, the problem is usually large and expensive to repair. Plus the dentist can guide you in helping you determine areas to improve in teeth cleaning.
9. Replace your toothbrush every 3 months, and after having a cold/flu. Since tooth brush bristles don’t always dry out, they can be the perfect environment for viruses to hang out that little bit longer, and potentially make others in the house sick too, if your brush heads touch one another. Older brushes also have damaged bristles that are either ineffective or become rough on a microscopic level, so that they can damage your tooth surface too.
10. Electric toothbrushes are really effective. They make brushing easier, as all you have to do is aim, and the brush does the rest. I personally like Electric tooth brushes that have timers (most do) and inbuilt pressure sensors. This makes it easy to visualise when you are brushing too hard, as a light comes on to show you. If your bathroom looks like a 1980’s night club, you are using too much pressure.
These tooth cleaning hacks were published in Rescu, which you can read HERE
Thanks for reading!