How long should you brush your teeth?
If you answered yes, you could be wasting your time. That’s right! If you want to keep and improve your dental health, you may want to consider updating your brushing routine. It turns out that there are two main components to brushing your teeth: time and technique.
Following the 2/2 rule, you can keep your teeth healthy – brushing for two minutes, twice a day, usually in the morning and before you go to bed at night.
Even though you probably have a smartphone or two to navigate your day and personal life, how can you make sure you are brushing for at least two minutes? No problem. Try setting a timer on one of those smartphones.
Electric toothbrushes with a timer can help remind you just how long you should brush your teeth. Timers are automatically set for two minutes. When the electric toothbrush stops, you’re done. Create your own special method that works better for you! For example, you could:
- Play a song on Pandora, Spotify, or iHeartRadio (one that lasts around two minutes)
- Use a stopwatch
- Microwave Timer
- Ask Alexa to start a timer for an amount of time
Brushing your teeth regularly using the best techniques is great for your health – just as important as how long you brush.
Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle when you brush. Use short strokes, moving back and forth over your teeth and gumline. Use the tip of the brush to get behind the front teeth. Also, take a few seconds to brush your tongue, which can be covered in bacteria.3 Plus brushing it helps keep your breath fresh. Germs stay stuck on and between your teeth if you don’t brush your teeth well, and over time, this can lead to swollen gums that are red, tender, or even gingivitis (progressive gingivitis could end up with periodontitis), or full-blown gum disease.
“Replace your toothbrush every three to four months – thousands of microbes grow on toothbrush bristles and handles which can cause cold and flu viruses, the herpes virus that causes cold sores, and bacteria that can cause periodontal infections.”
One note of caution: You can brush too hard. Applying too much pressure as you brush can wear away at tooth enamel.4 The enamel is the layer that protects your teeth from cavities. Brushing too forcefully can damage the enamel and irritate your gums. Try brushing with your non-dominant hand for a lighter touch.
When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to “periodontitis” (which means “inflammation around the tooth”). In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets” or “black triangles”) that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.
Do you want heart disease?
Of course, you don’t, but research suggests that gum disease is linked to heart disease. So good dental hygiene (using proper brushing and flossing), will not only keep your teeth healthy and your breath fresh, it helps you protect your heart and keeps your selfies beautiful.
Experience a unique approach to dentistry. Smile Craft Dental specializes in creating healthy and beautiful smiles by combining personalized attention, Periodontal Therapy and state-of-the-art equipment.