You brush twice a day, doling out the perfect pea-sized amount of toothpaste. But, if you’re swirling water around your minty-fresh mouth post-brush, then you haven’t quite mastered your dental hygiene routine.
“I recommend not rinsing, particularly for the nighttime,” she says, because that way, “You leave a nice film of fluoride on your teeth overnight.”
She suggests waiting 30 minutes after brushing before eating or drinking.
In addition to unnecessary rinsing, many people are wasting water during brushing by leaving the tap running and, even, wetting their brushes in the first place.
“You don’t really need to wet your toothbrush,” says Tomkins, unless you have a very hard toothbrush and need to soften the bristles — in which case, it should really be replaced with a softer bristled variety.
“If you use the toothbrush and scrub the chewing surfaces first, then the inside — so, the side closest to the tongue — then the side closest to the roof of the mouth, then the cheek side, the outside, you’re optimizing your brushing,” she explains, and ensuring your brush is plenty moist for the task.
Tomkins notes that many people are also brushing their teeth at the wrong time — that is, immediately after eating.
“It seems counterintuitive,” she acknowledges, but explains that by cleaning your teeth immediately after meals you could, potentially, be pushing the acids and sugars in food into your tooth enamel and weakening it.
“Over time, it could have a cumulative effect,” says Tomkins, suggesting waiting about 30 minutes after eating before brushing.
As for her own dental hygiene routine, she says, “In general, I rinse vigorously with water first, then lightly brush with no toothpaste, then floss, then brush with toothpaste and leave the fluoride on my teeth.”
Though, she says, people shouldn’t worry too much if they’ve been rinsing and doing after-meal tooth touch-ups.
“I’m happy that people are keen and want to brush and floss at all,” she says, but suggests everyone consult their dentist for some “fine-tuning” of their habits.
“Ask your dentist where the areas of concern are in your mouth,” she recommends, noting it’s easy to overdo it in one part of your mouth while missing other areas entirely.
A personalized plan will help keep your teeth pearly white and healthy, she says, noting, “Your dentist can be your oral hygiene coach.”
Proper brushing techniques
•Brush your teeth for two to three minutes
•Avoid hard scrubbing
•Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and gently brush in short strokes from where the tooth and gum meet to the top of the tooth
•Brush all outside and inside surfaces
•Clean the pits and crevices on the chewing surface of your teeth with short sweeping strokes
•Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath
Source — youroralhealth.ca