Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Spit, Don't Rinse - Proper Toothbrushing Techniques

Along the same lines as how you've been showering wrong or you've been pooping wrong, there's another bathroom routine you've probably been doing wrong - brushing your teeth.

Spit, Don't Rinse

If your parents took you to the dentist as a kid, you might remember getting fluoride treatments. The dentist would fill a mouth guard with foam, fit it around your teeth, and then leave you alone with a suction hose in your mouth. You'd then sit there, alone, trying to keep your face from imploding.

Not after that hose is done with you...
Modern toothpastes have fluoride that fight tooth decay just as well as that foamy stuff at the dentist. The problem is how we use it. See, after the dentist uses the hose to suck the remaining fluoride from your mouth, he/she informed you that you weren't supposed to eat or drink for 30 minutes. That's how long it takes for your teeth to properly absorb the fluoride still sticking to them. If you brush your teeth and then rinse your mouth with water, all of that fluoride goes down the drain instead of into your enamel.

So, what should you do after brushing? Spit whatever toothpaste is left in your mouth into the sink, but leave the remaining toothpaste that is on your teeth. Then, avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes. It'll feel really weird, like your teeth are fuzzy, but it's the proper way to brush. It took me a few weeks to get used to it.

Other Brushing Tips

When brushing with a manual toothbrush, tilt the bristles toward the gum-line and brush slowly. This has two benefits: 1) it'll help you get rid of tartar, and 2) it'll keep you from having a painful scraping the next time you go to the dentist.

Also, be sure you're not brushing too hard. If you're brushing with your fist wrapped around the toothbrush, you're likely using too much force. Over time, this can damage your gums. To see how much force you need, hold the toothbrush only between your thumb and forefinger like you're giving the "Okay" sign.

However much force you can manage holding a toothbrush like this is about how much force you should use while brushing. Plus, it makes you look like a fancy-pants French aristocrat while you're in the bathroom.

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