Brushing your teeth at least twice daily helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease, the major causes of tooth loss. If you only brush your teeth once a day, then the best time to do so is at night, ideally before you go to sleep. When you are sleeping there is less movement of saliva and less clearance than when you are awake and swallowing more often.
Use a soft-bristle tooth brush. It is the kindest to your teeth and surrounding gum tissue. It is common to hear the recommendation of using an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste, and these toothpastes can be helpful in preventing decay, however, toothpaste is best used after you have removed plaque and food particles. Think about it, toothpaste is abrasive. The abrasive quality of toothpaste is somewhat helpful with keeping stain on the teeth under control, but abrasives can also wear away tooth structure and contribute to the possibility of gum recession.
Therefore, it is best to use a toothbrush without toothpaste. This way the bristles are in direct contact with the tooth and gum without the interface of abrasive toothpaste. The proper movement of the soft toothbrush bristles removes the plaque from under the gums. After plaque and food particles have been removed, the teeth are ready for a fluoride toothpaste.
On the outer and inner surfaces of the teeth brush at a 45-degree angle in a short jiggling motion to remove the plaque from beneath the gumline. Keep moving the toothbrush to the next group of teeth until all of the gumline has been cleaned of plaque. After this work at the gums, the cheek and tongue sides of the teeth can be brushed in an up and down motion. On the chewing surfaces hold the brush flat and brush back and forth. The tongue side of front teeth can also be brushed by holding the brush vertically and using a gentle up and down stroke with the toe of the brush.
Remember to brush your tongue in a back-to-front sweeping motion to remove plaque and freshen your breath.
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