Most of us learned how to brush our teeth in early childhood, probably by the time we started kindergarten. But have you updated your brushing technique since then? Taking care of your oral health is a life skill that should grow along with you, just like other hygiene habits. Take bathing, for example: as a child, you probably cleaned up with a bubble bath, but as an adult, life calls for a daily shower. Likewise, how you brushed your teeth at age five shouldn’t be how you brush your teeth at age 35. When it comes to your oral hygiene, the habits you learned as a child need to grow and change, or they may no longer serve you as well as they used to. Here’s what you need to know so you can brush your teeth the right way as an adult. How to Brush Your Teeth The first thing you should know is that the American Dental Association’s (ADA) official recommendation is that you brush your teeth twice a day. Most people choose to brush first thing in the morning and right before bed so they don’t forget. Each time you brush your teeth, you should brush for two whole minutes. According to a 2009 study, most Americans only brush for 45 seconds. The study also found that brushing for two minutes removed 26% more plaque than just brushing for 45 seconds. If you’re not sure how long you’re brushing for, set a timer to make sure you get a full two minutes. As far as your actual brushing technique, the ADA recommends that you hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Brush all of the surfaces of your teeth with gentle, tooth-wide strokes. Remember to brush your tongue as well. Choosing the Right Toothbrush Your brushing technique will only get you so far if you’re not using the right toothbrush. When it comes to bristles, soft is the way to go. Brushing your teeth is supposed to be a gentle process; you want to remove plaque and food particles, not your own tooth enamel. Soft bristles offer some forgiveness if you’re a more aggressive brusher. You’ll also want to choose a toothbrush with multi-level or angled bristles; these remove plaque better than flat ones. When it comes to size, a standard adult-sized toothbrush should work, although you may prefer a compact size if you have a smaller mouth. If you’re trying to choose between an electric or traditional toothbrush, there is no right answer. Choose the type of brush that works best for you. If you’re worried about brushing for two minutes, for example, then an electric toothbrush that has a built-in timer may be the best option. Whichever toothbrush you choose, make sure to change brushes or brush heads every three to four months to ensure a thorough clean. Additional Oral Hygiene Habits Brushing your teeth regularly is essential for good oral health, but it isn’t the only tool in your arsenal. You’ll need to incorporate these additional practices to ensure a healthy smile: \tFlossing daily \tUsing mouth rinse daily \tStaying hydrated \tAvoiding sugary foods and drinks \tScheduling regular teeth cleanings Schedule Your Next Teeth Cleaning Our Hudsonville, MI, preventative dentists can help you practice good oral hygiene and protect your smile. To schedule your next teeth cleaning, call Hudsonville Dental at (616) 209-4024, or contact us online to request an appointment.