How to brush your teeth

Brushing your teeth every day isn’t just a way to keep your mouth feeling clean. It’s a way to keep your whole body healthy, too.

Brushing twice per day, for 2 minutes each time is recommended.

When you brush correctly, you eliminate the plaque buildup and bacteria that can otherwise collect between your teeth and on your tongue. This can prevent gum disease and tooth decay, as well as promote a stronger immune system and a healthier lifestyle.

We cover the ins and outs of brushing correctly, no matter your circumstance.

What you need to brush your teeth
The first step to brushing correctly is making sure you’re prepared with the right tools. You’ll need:

•a toothbrush
•fluoride toothpaste
•floss
•mouthwash (optional)
•Your toothbrush should be replaced every 3 to 4 months. If your toothbrush has been overused, the bristles can become frayed and brushing loses some of its efficacy.

A fluoride toothpaste that’s approved by the American Dental Association is the best choice for most adults.

Fluoride fortifies your teeth against decay. Some very young children shouldn’t use fluoride toothpaste. However, the ADA still recommends that:

children younger than age 3 whose first teeth have come in can use a smear of fluoride toothpaste about the size of a rice grain
children 3 to 6 can start using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
Special fluoride-free toothpastes also exist for younger kids if you’re worried about them swallowing the toothpaste.

How to brush your teeth properly, step by step

(*) The simplest way to brush your teeth involves your standard plastic-handled, nylon-bristled toothbrush.

(*) The entire process should take about 2 minutes. Practice timing yourself until you get used to how long 2 minutes feels when you’re brushing.

(*) Lubricate your brush with a small amount of water. Put a small amount of toothpaste — about the size of a pea — on the head of the toothbrush.
Insert the toothbrush into your mouth at about a 45-degree angle to your gums and use gentle, short strokes to brush your front teeth.

(*) Brush the outside surfaces of your teeth, making sure to get the back molars and upper areas of your chewing surfaces.

(*) Flip the toothbrush upside down to get the inside surface of your top front teeth. Flip it back around to get the inside surface of your bottom front teeth.

(*) Brush your tongue to get rid of any bacteria buildup or plaque that has gotten stuck there during the brushing process.

(*) Spit out the remnants of toothpaste, saliva, and water into a clean sink. Finish by rinsing your mouth with cold water.

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