Humans have been brushing their teeth with a vengeance since the invention of the toothbrush in 15th century China.
It’s understandable when you consider the enemies: discoloration, trapped spinach, plaque and, as burned into our brains by decades of mouthwash commercials, the germs that cause bad breath.
We can’t seem to scrub vigorously enough, foaming at the mouth like rabid crocodiles.
Finally, we’re starting to wise up. While elbow grease might be effective in removing shower mildew, we now know that it can cause your teeth some harm. Many of us, without realizing it, have been wearing down enamel as well as gum tissue.
Here are a few basics from the American Dental Association:
Use a soft bristle brush. The nylon must be pliable enough to get in between your teeth and not abrade them.
Brush up and down. Only the chewing surfaces get brushed back and forth; otherwise you can damage the gums. Turn the brush vertically to clean the front teeth.
Don’t rush when you brush. Devote two full minutes. That’s 30 seconds a quadrant, covering front, back, and chewing surfaces.
Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. When the bristles fray, throw it away.
With research linking gum disease to heart problems, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and other conditions, it’s more important than ever to give brushing your full attention. Don’t text or walk around the house; watch what you’re doing in the mirror. And be sure to see your dentist regularly. A dental plan from your association and AMBA can help you stay on track—and save money.
Remember, be kind to your teeth and your teeth will be kind to you!