Good Oral Health- Tooth Brushing
Everyone knows that tooth brushing is the foundation for good dental health (with flossing a close second). But, unfortunately, many Australians still don’t brush often enough or for as long as they should. Why is regular toothbrushing so challenging?
According to Australia’s Children and Young People Oral Health Tracker (March 2018), only 68.5% of children (5-14 years) brush their teeth twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste.
Adults (18+) are even less committed to a twice-daily cleaning. Australia’s Adult Oral Health Tracker has discovered that oust over half (51%) of Australian adults brush their teeth twice daily.
It seems that even adults sometimes need a little reminder about effective toothbrushing!
How Long Should Tooth Brushing Take?
According to the Australian Dental Association, to gain the maximum benefit you should be brushing for at least two minutes morning and night, spending roughly 30 seconds on each quarter of your mouth. It generally takes that long to remove decay-causing bacteria from every surface of each tooth.
Read more here about the ADA’s basics of brushing.
Brushing: A Dental Health Video By The Australian Dental Association
This video was produced by the Australian Dental Association for Dental Health Week 2019. It provides plenty of great tips for cleaning your teeth.
The Australian Dental Association’s recommendations include:
- Use a small, soft brush. Hard ones can damage your teeth and gums.
- Use just one pea-sized blob of fluoridated toothpaste. That’s all the toothpaste you’ll need! Most people use way too much. Very young children (under three) only need a tiny amount, around the size of a grain of rice.
- For timing (and for fun!), listen to music and brush for the duration of a short song you like. This is a great tip for people of all ages. You can even use a brushing video for young children.
- Tilt your brush at a 45 degree angle so the bristles are cleaning your gums too. Brushing is not just about teeth!
- Brush gently in circles. Or if you have an electric toothbrush, just hold still at each tooth for 3 seconds.
- Count all 6 segments as you go: inside, outside and chewing surfaces–upper and lower. It’s really good to develop a sequence of brushing so that you don’t miss any surface.
- Don’t miss your inside front teeth. Brush up and down to reach these properly. This means you’ll have to hold your toothbrush vertically instead of horizontally. It takes a bit of practice, so check what you’re doing in the mirror.
- Finish by brushing your tongue to remove bacteria from your mouth. Just a few gentle strokes from back to front is all you’ll need.
- Avoid rinsing so your toothpaste keep working for longer. Simply spit out after brushing.
- Now do it all again! Brush twice each day and floss at least once. Don’t forget the floss! Bushing only cleans some surfaces of your teeth.
Visit your dentist regularly to prevent problems and keep on smiling!
This article was first published on our website on August 11, 2012. It was updated on August 6, 2019 for Dental Health Week.