Dentist appointments can be intimidating. There’s typically a bright light shining down upon you in a white room, and it can be nerve-wracking to wait as your dentist slowly examines your teeth and smile to determine whether or not you have any cavities, and how good you’ve been at staying on top of your oral hygiene routine.

Everyone wants to feel good about their trip to the dentist, and feel confident that they’ve done everything possible to take the best care of their teeth and gums. Here are four brushing tips that will ensure your dentist is impressed with your dental hygiene at every visit.

  • Time Yourself

It’s recommended that you brush for at least two minutes in order to get the best results. It can be hard to count this out, especially if you’re focusing on brushing or running other errands around the house in preparation for the day, so it may be best to set a timer.

Doing a quick once over of your teeth in the morning before you duck out for the day will get rid of morning breath and maybe a small amount of debris, but won’t clean your teeth enough to properly prevent things like tooth decay and gum disease. Neglecting your dental hygiene can easily pave the way to oral health issues down the way, and brushing in small increments won’t have a meaningful impact on the state of your oral health.

If a timer doesn’t work for you, you could also find a two-minute song that you like so you can have a little entertainment throughout your brushing routine. While the song can extend a little past two minutes, make sure it isn’t any less.

  • Don’t Brush Hard

There’s a common misconception that the harder you brush your teeth, the more likely it is that they’re getting cleaner and that you’re getting rid of plaque and tartar in the process. In theory, it makes sense, but in practice, this isn’t the case.

Brushing your teeth too hard and at severe angles can lead to oral health issues such as gum recession. This occurs when the gums start to pull away from the teeth due to the high amounts of pressure, often exposing more of the teeth and making them appear longer. This can occur due to both brushing too hard, and using a hard-bristled toothbrush. Both are known to be a little too rough on your teeth and gums, especially with improper brushing technique.

Remember to hold your brush gently, and brush in soft, circular motions that still cover all areas of the teeth. You want to brush with enough pressure to properly clean, but not enough to cause any damage or discomfort. Harder bristles and hard brushing habits are known to damage tooth and gum structures if the habit is kept for long periods of time.

  • Floss Regularly

Flossing is often disregarded, simply because people don’t like to do it. However, flossing is just as important as brushing when it comes to maintaining proper oral health, and properly removing any debris that could cause tooth decay from the hidden crevices between your teeth.

Your toothbrush does a good job of removing high levels of food, debris, and other bacteria causing things that could wreak havoc on your oral health, but food can often get trapped, especially if you have crooked teeth. Floss gives you the opportunity to remove it and attack those hidden areas where bacteria causing debris may be hiding.

Floss can also help loosen the plaque between your teeth to ensure it doesn’t build-up. While neither your toothbrush or floss can fully remove hardened plaque and tartar, as only your dentist has the proper tools and experience to do so, it can help prevent the buildup of it that can lead to various oral diseases later in life.

If you need a walkthrough of proper flossing techniques, talk to your dentist – they’d love to give you a demonstration!

  • Change Your Toothbrush Frequently

After a few months, your toothbrush can become frayed and damaged from use. Whenever you begin to see the bristles start to fray and become worn, you should change it out for a new one so your teeth and gums can get the best possible treatment. Frayed bristles simply don’t clean as well as they should.

There are other reasons to change your toothbrush, too. If you’ve recently been sick you should get rid of your toothbrush as soon as you get over your cold, so you don’t reintroduce the bacteria into your mouth and start the process all over again.

Old, frayed toothbrushes may also harbour bacteria of their own. After months of using them for frequent brushing, they can harbour bacteria that could potentially lead to things like gingivitis and gum disease. Make sure you’re switching out your toothbrush for a new one every three to four months to always get the best brushing results.

If you follow all of these tips closely and develop a strict routine that protects your oral health for the long term, your dentist will have nothing to worry about at your next check-up, making it a breeze! Your dental anxieties may even disappear.

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