FAQ: About Brushing and Cleaning
Q: How should I brush and clean my teeth at home?
When cleaning with a manual toothbrush, you want the bristles of the brush to penetrate into the gaps between teeth to remove food and soft plaque that collects on teeth and gums. Plaque makes acids and toxins that can damage your teeth and gums.
Proper brushing should take two to three minutes and you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, using a toothpaste containing fluoride. Fluoride combines with minerals in your saliva to toughen your tooth enamel and help stop decay. Brush all teeth in order, one or two teeth at a time, inside and outside. Don't be excessively vigorous but also don't be too mild.
Flossing is also important for cleaning between the teeth.
Here are some ways to get the most out of your brushing routine:
- Brush for at least 2 minutes, twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste. Pay special attention to your back teeth, which may have more plaque on them.
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Brush with gentle strokes so you don't wear away your gums or teeth.
- Change your toothbrush every 3 months. Bristles that are worn remove less plaque.
- Brush your tongue to help freshen your breath. Brush from back to front using a gentle sweeping motion.
- For a healthier mouth, consider using a electric rechargeable toothbrush. Most electric rechargeable toothbrushes remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes.
Q: Why should I have my teeth cleaned at the dentist? I brush them twice every day!
When you brush at home, you are able to clean the surfaces of the teeth that are accessible by a tooth brush. Most people have tartar and stain deposits on the teeth that build-up over time. These deposits harbour harmful bacteria which cause bad breath, bleeding gums and gum disease. When you have your teeth cleaned professionally, it helps to remove plaque and tartar from hard to reach areas, thereby preventing progression of gum disease and dental decay.
Q: Does cleaning make my teeth weak?
No, cleaning does not make your teeth weak. Cleaning removes tartar, plaque and stain deposits from your teeth and the spaces between your teeth. After cleaning, you may become more aware of the spaces between the teeth. It is normal to experience slight sensitivity, which usually settles within a day or two.
Q: Why do I need a fluoride application after cleaning at the dentist?
The surfaces of your teeth after cleaning are very receptive to absorbing fluoride. Professional fluoride application makes your teeth stronger and helps with relieving sensitivity.
Q: My gums bleed when I brush. How do I stop this?
Bleeding gums are commonly due to inflammation of the gums, or "gingivitis". Usual causes are bacteria breeding in the food remains, and tartar around the teeth and gums. There may be other reasons that cause bleeding gums. Your dentist will advise you of your options. Regular cleaning and maintaining oral health will return your gums to a healthy state.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided on the FAQ pages is of a general nature and is not a substitute for professional dental or medical advice or treatment. Care For Smiles does not assume responsibility for persons substituting this advice for professional medical or dental advice. Please consult your registered health provider for advice regarding your specific conditions. If you are having a medical emergency you should contact your nearest emergency care centre.