How should I brush my teeth?

Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth for about three minutes in total. You should be careful to brush all of your teeth, including the inside of them and those at the very rear of the mouth. This is to ensure that plaque and food debris is removed.

Plaque is a substance formed every time you eat or drink, particularly substances which contain a lot of sugar and starch. If plaque is allowed to stay on your teeth it can have consequences for your oral hygiene. Plaque attacks the hard, protective enamel which coats your teeth and leaves them open to decay. Without functioning enamel, small holes can appear in your teeth which will need to be filled. In severe and advanced cases, teeth may need to be removed because they have broken down beyond the point where they can be restored.

Gum disease can also be caused by plaque in the mouth. If plaque remains on the gum line of teeth it can cause gingivitis. This is where the gums become inflamed and you will experience reddening of the gums and some sensitivity. The inflammation can spread to the bones holding teeth in place; a condition called periodontitis. This is a leading cause of tooth loss and is very painful indeed.

These are the reasons why should brush your teeth with care to remove as much plaque as possible. Dentists recommend that toothpaste fortified with fluoride can help too as it strengthens the enamel which protects teeth. You should be careful not to brush too vigorously though as this can actually damage the enamel. The same can be said if you tend to brush your tongue to remove bad breath-causing bacteria which can gather there: your tongue is sensitive so don't brush it too aggressively.

In summary: brush for about three minutes, not too vigorously, making sure that you cover all areas of your mouth and use a fluoride toothpaste!