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Are you teaching your children the correct tooth brushing techniques? asks your Cornwall dentist

Chances are you taught your children how to brush their teeth and your parents taught you. But our Liskeard dentists ask: have you ever been shown how to bush your teeth by a professional? Could you be passing on bad habits to your children that they could pass onto theirs?

The Smile Centre in Liskeard is very keen to explain the gold standard in tooth brushing and we encourage our patients from across Bodmin, Tavistock, Torpoint, Plymouth, Cornwall and beyond to ask us for guidance.

The best advice is to brush your teeth twice a day for a minimum of two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. You should brush your teeth before you go to bed and at one other time during the day.

We strongly advise that you time how long you brush for because it is difficult to guess how long two minutes is. Research suggests that people tend to underestimate, often stopping brushing at just under a minute and a half if they don’t have a timer.

Imagine your teeth are divided into four areas and spend 30 seconds brushing every surface of every tooth in that quadrant. Most electric toothbrushes now come with a timer and the best ones will beep every 30 seconds to let you know when to move on to the next quadrant of your mouth.

When using an electric toothbrush, don’t use it as you would a manual toothbrush. Use a rocking U-shaped motion to brush from the outside, the biting surface and the inside of each tooth before moving onto the next.

The smaller heads are specially formulated to get right in between each tooth to ensure as much tooth as possible is cleaned. Research has found that electric toothbrushes are better than manual for keeping our teeth healthy.

Some other things to remember are:

  • Spit don’t rinse after brushing as rinsing washes away the fluoride in the toothpaste.
  • Don’t gargle with mouthwash immediately after brushing as this too washes the fluoride away.
  • Change your toothbrush every 3 months or when the bristles start to splay as they harbour bacteria.
  • Leave an hour after eating before brushing to ensure you don’t brush away minuscule particles of tooth enamel.

Interdental bushes

Interdental brushes, such as TePe brushes are fantastic for cleaning in the gaps between our teeth. Ask your hygienist which size of brush she recommends for your mouth and if you have any doubts about how, when and how often to use them, please ask at your appointment and she will be only too happy to help.

If you have any questions about brushing or would like a demonstration, please contact us to make an appointment.