The Long and Too Short of Brushing Your Teeth

How Long Should I Brush My Teeth?

If you are in the habit of brushing your teeth at least twice a day, you are doing your mouth and body a huge favor. If you floss at least once a day too, reach around and give yourself a big pat on the back while smiling wide. Regular brushing and flossing are essential to keep your teeth healthy and strong.

A question by our Placerville dentists, however, is how long is long enough? If you’re like many people, mornings are so time crunched, it’s a major accomplishment to get the basics done. By night all you want to do is crash into bed. But if you are skimping on the time spent brushing your teeth, you’re not giving them all the time they need. Does a couple brushes around the mouth sound about right? Thirty seconds? A full minute? Not quite – dental scientists at the American Dental Association recommend a full two minutes to adequately brush your teeth.

Two Minutes?

Two or three minutes can seem like an eternity, especially for little ones. It may help to set a timer. Some electronic toothbrushes come with a timer to keep you on your scheduled two or three minutes. In addition, although time is important, technique is vital too. Learn to use short strokes, moving back and forth against where your gums meet your teeth. Brush around every surface of each tooth. Use the tip of your toothbrush to get around each of your front teeth. And of course, never forget to floss. Many specialists even recommend that you floss first, clearing the hard-to-reach spaces between your teeth for their daily dose of fluoride toothpaste.

Can You Wear Down Your Teeth?

Has your dentist or hygienist told you that you’re brushing too hard, too often or too long? Remember, it is possible to overdo it, but if you aren’t brushing for more than two minutes, don’t cut down on the time spent brushing, cut down on the amount of pressure. (Also make sure that you are only using soft bristle toothbrushes.) Try using your left hand if you’re right handed and vice versa. That way you are less likely to push too hard.

Your Placerville dentist recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes.

A simple timer can help you and your children brush for two minutes, twice a day.

But Seriously, Two Whole Minutes?

If you find over time that you are still having trouble brushing for two minutes, find a little song or poem that you can recite to keep you on track. Crank up the tunes. Do some lunges. Check your social media account. Whatever it takes, brush for at least two minutes, gently, at least two times a day. That’s only four minutes a day, or two hundred and forty seconds. Make the time for your teeth and they’ll take a licking while the clock is ticking.


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