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12 Tips to Brush Up Your Teeth the Right Way
  • Ardha Kati Chakrasana
    Tip 1
    Choosing the right toothbrush

    Toothbrushes vary in size and design as well as in length, hardness and arrangement of the bristles. According to the American Dental Association an acceptable brushing surface must be:

    • 25.4 to 31.8mm long
    • 7.9 to 9.5 mm wide
    • 2 to 4 rows with 5 to 12 tufts per row
  • Ardha Kati Chakrasana
    Tip 2
    Shape of bristles – rounded or zigzag?

    Some manufacturers claim that their toothbrushes have rounded bristles. However, it has been found that even if the bristles are irregular, they become rounded after use. Zigzag shaped bristles may be of some use. Bristles that change colour with use are also beneficial, since these indicate the toothbrush having outlived its utility.
  • Ardha Kati Chakrasana
    Tip 3
    Kind of bristles - soft or hard?

    Toothbrushes with hard bristles must be avoided, as these damage the gums and the teeth. On the other hand, very soft bristles, though they reach the inter-dental areas better, do not serve the basic purpose of removing the plaque completely and gently massaging the gums. Therefore, medium bristles should be preferred.
  • Ardha Kati Chakrasana
    Tip 4
    Shape of the handle

    The shape of the toothbrush handle is a matter of individual preference. The main consideration should be that the handle fits in the hand properly. Straight handles are most common, and serve the purpose quite well. With proper tooth brushing technique, accessibility to different areas of the dentition should not be a problem with a straight handled brush. Brushes with bent handles can be used, but they have not been proved to be either superior or inferior.
  • Ardha Kati Chakrasana
    Tip 5
    Duration of brushing

    No fixed time can be advised for the duration of tooth brushing. Most of the time, it takes at least about two minutes of brushing to remove plaque from all surfaces for an individual with normal dentition, though some people may take more time.
  • Ardha Kati Chakrasana
    Tip 6
    Aggressive brushing

    Some people brush very aggressively, but aggressive brushing does not lead to better cleaning. It must be remembered that brushing the teeth is not like scrubbing the floor. The purpose of brushing is to remove plaque and not strip the teeth.
  • Ardha Kati Chakrasana
    Tip 7
    Special brushes

    These have a special slot in between the tufts, which makes it easier to clean over braces or dentures.
  • Ardha Kati Chakrasana
    Tip 8
    The right technique

    Brushing must be done with the proper technique. Usually, the inner surface of the teeth, especially the tongue surface of the lower teeth, is not properly cleaned. Initially, it may take some time to master the technique, but the manual dexterity to clean these areas is not difficult to learn.
  • Ardha Kati Chakrasana
    Tip 9
    Electric brushes

    Electric toothbrushes are recommended for individuals with a problem in manual dexterity, for children or handicapped or hospitalized patients, who need to have their teeth cleaned by someone else. Electric toothbrushes are recommended for many orthodontic patients.
  • Ardha Kati Chakrasana
    Tip 10
    Prescribing the toothbrush and toothpaste

    Too often, dentists are faced by a pet question: "Doctor, I brush twice a day. Tell me which brush and toothpaste to use." There is no precise answer to this question. The choice of toothbrush and toothpaste depends upon individual requirements and preferences. Amongst the commercially available toothbrushes and toothpastes, no particular brand has been proved to be consistently superior to the other.
  • Ardha Kati Chakrasana
    Tip 11
    Discarding a worn out brush

    If the brush frays very early then it may mean that brushing is being carried out very vigorously. If the bristles are still straight after six months, then it means that the brushing effort has been too gentle. Toothbrushes must be discarded as soon as its bristles fray, and on average, they fray in 2 to 3 months
  • Ardha Kati Chakrasana
    Best Tip
    Leisure brushing

    The other extreme is brushing a very leisurely way, perhaps combining this activity with reading the morning newspaper or listening to TV news. This is also not advisable because the main activity takes a backseat here, and the brushing involved may only amount to chewing the brush.
  • Ardha Kati Chakrasana
    Brush up on dental care basics. Oral health begins with clean teeth. Get daily dental care with these 12 tips to do it right

    - Dr V Venkatesh
    Sr. Consultant, Dental Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon at Apollo Health City, Hyderabad

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