how to use an electric toothbrush properly

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How To Use An Electric Toothbrush Properly

Oral health is an important part of maintaining your overall well-being. Studies have shown that both manual and electric toothbrushes can be effective at keeping your oral cavity clean.[1] However, you might feel an electric version does a better job on your mouth. By following proper technique of using an electric toothbrush and

guidelines for twice daily brushing, you can keep your teeth pearly white, your breath fresh, and help prevent cavities or other infections.[2]

Using the Toothbrush

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    Charge the unit. You won’t be able to use an electronic toothbrush if your batteries are dead or it isn’t charged. Either keep the toothbrush cradled in its charger or change the batteries when you notice it’s losing its power, which can help ensure that you can use the toothbrush most effectively. If you run out of power, then you can either continue brushing manually or get a regular toothbrush if you have one.

    • Store your toothbrush close enough to the sink so it is easy to reach, but far enough away that you won’t accidentally knock it into the sink and get electrocuted if the toothbrush is plugged in.
    • Consider keeping extra batteries on hand so that you can always brush your teeth.
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    Maintain the integrity of your brush. Your electric toothbrush should have soft, nylon, and round-ended bristles for the most effective brushing.[3] These bristles can wear with regular use and you should inspect the brush regularly to maintain its integrity, which can help ensure that you get the best brush possible.[4]

    • Make sure the bristles don’t have any sharp or jagged edges or endpoints.[5]
    • Make sure that the bristles are not falling out.[6] Also, check the colored bristles. If they start fading, it means that you should change the tip with a new one.
    • Replace your electronic toothbrush head every three to four months, or more often if you notice any of the above-mentioned issues.[7]
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    Prepare your toothbrush. Run your toothbrush under some water and apply a pea-sized dab of toothpaste onto the brush.[8] This can help prepare your toothbrush for the most effective cleaning of your teeth and oral cavity.[9] You can also apply the toothpaste on your teeth while toothbrush is turned off to better spread the paste around your mouth.

    • Consider using a fluoride toothpaste, which can help strengthen your teeth and remove plaque that causes disease and decay.[10]
    • If you have sensitive teeth, consider using a fluoride toothpaste formulated to help minimize sensitivity.[11]
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    Divide your mouth into four quadrants. Dividing your mouth into top, left, right, and bottom quadrants to tackle your brushing routine. This can help ensure that you brush each section of your teeth and mouth cavity.

    • You can start with whichever quadrant you like or is most comfortable to you and you should spend about 40 seconds on each quadrant while brushing every single surface of your teeth.
    • Make sure to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth.
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    Place toothbrush bristles along gum line. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line. Keep the bristles in contact with your tooth surface and gum line, which can help ensure you get the most effective brush possible.[12]

    • Apply only gentle pressure, as too much can injure your teeth and gums. The vibrations of your electronic toothbrush can also add a little additional pressure.[13]
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    Brush from outer to inner tooth surfaces. Maintaining the 45-degree angle, brush the outer surfaces of two to three teeth using a back and forth rolling motion.[14] Once you’ve completed this procedure for a quadrant, move to the inner surfaces of your teeth and repeat the same procedure.[15]

    • The rolling motion is achieved by contacting the brush to the gum line and then moving downward with the toothbrush towards the chewing surface.[16] Also, brush your gums with gentle pressure and avoid holding the brush for too long next to the gum line because the rotation can cause gum recession over time.
    • To brush behind your front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make up and down strokes using only the front half of your brush.[17]
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    Clean biting surfaces, your tongue, and soft palate. You’ll also need to brush your tongue and palate as well as the biting surfaces of your teeth.[18]This can help remove debris and other odor-causing bacteria.

    • Use a gentle back and forth scrubbing motion to clean the biting surfaces and your tongue.[19]
    • Use an equally or more gentle back and forth motion to clean your soft palate, or the roof of your mouth.
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    Brush gently and thoroughly. Spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth, or about 30 seconds per quadrant.[20] Doing this at least twice a day can help prevent cavities and tooth decay by minimizing the debris and bacteria in your mouth.[21]

    • Pressing too hard can damage your gums or wear down your enamel.[22]
    • Wait 30 to 60 minutes after eating or drinking acidic foods to help maintain your enamel.[23] This will provide plenty of time for the saliva to remineralize the enamel and create an alkaline environment. Instead, chew a piece of sugar-free gum that contains xylitol after meals and before brushing.
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    Floss between your teeth. Even with thorough brushing, dentists recommend flossing your teeth twice a day. This can help remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth that brushing couldn’t reach.[24]

    • Remove about 18 inches (46 cm) of floss from the packaging. Wrap it around your middle fingers.[25] You can then grasp the floss between your thumbs and forefingers which can help you clean more effectively.[26]
    • Make sure to be very gentle when guiding the floss between your teeth. Curve it against your tooth when it hits your gumline.[27]
    • Rub the side of each tooth with the floss in an up and down motion.[28] Try to remove the plaque formed under your gums and practice until you get the best results.
    • You may brush or floss first. Some studies have shown, however, that flossing before brushing may increase the efficacy of fluoride.[29]
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    Use an antiseptic mouth rinse. After you have brushed and flossed, rinse out your mouth with some clean water and a mouthwash. Some studies have shown that mouthwash can reduce plaque and gingivitis and promote overall oral health. Mouthwash can also remove lingering particles of food or other germs.[30]

    • Swish around the water and mouthwash in your mouth.
    • Mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine are generally the preferred type of mouthwash. Products that contain alcohol may dry out your mouth and cause bad breath or even sores or ulcers.[31]
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    Store your toothbrush. Once you’ve finished your brushing routine, rinse off the toothbrush head and return it to its storage unit. This can help maintain the integrity and life of your toothbrush. Remove the brush from the handle, and hold it under running water for a few seconds. Set it upright in its holder to dry.

    • Rinsing off your toothbrush with tap water will clean off any lingering toothpaste or debris.[32]
    • Avoid covering your toothbrush head, which can help promote the growth of bacteria.
    • Make sure you store the toothbrush in an upright position.[33]


Maintaining Oral Health

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    Brush and floss twice daily. Brushing and flossing each day as well as after meals may promote the health of your oral cavity. A clean environment may prevent cavities, infections, and stains.[34]

    • Brush and floss after meals if you are able. If you have food or other debris lingering in your teeth, it can promote infection and decay. Chewing a piece of gum may help minimize this risk if you don’t have a toothbrush available.[35]
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    Avoid sugary and acidic foods and beverages. Foods and drinks containing sugar or acid can contribute to oral decay, and watching your intake can help maintain your oral health. Cleaning your teeth after consuming these items may minimize your risk of tooth decay and infection.[36]

    • A healthy and well-balanced diet of lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and legumes can promote your overall well-being, including oral health.[37] Raw fruits and vegetables are best. Raw fruits and vegetables stimulate your gums and your teeth providing good blood circulation which prevents decay, gum disease or even periodontitis. Also, stick to whole grain bread and avoid sugary foods to reduce the amount of acids.
    • Some otherwise healthy foods are acidic. This includes citrus fruits and wine. Continue to enjoy these foods and beverages, but reduce how much you consume and consider brushing your teeth 30 minutes after you’re done to prevent enamel loss.
    • Some examples of sugary and acidic foods and beverages of which to steer clear are soft drinks, sweets, candies, and wine.
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    Use alcohol-free mouthwashes and toothpastes. Mouthwashes and toothpastes that have alcohol may damage your enamel and overall oral health. Use toothpastes or mouthwashes that have no alcohol to minimize your risk for these problems.[38]
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    Avoid grinding your teeth. If you clench and grind your teeth, you may damage your teeth and mouth. If you’re a tooth-grinder, talk to your dentist about wearing a mouth guard.[39]

    • Grinding can cause tooth sensitivity and damage including chips and cracks.[40]
    • Biting your nails, opening bottles or keeping objects between your teeth are also bad habits. Avoid these habits as much as possible so that you don’t damage your teeth.
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    Visit your dentist’s office regularly. Schedule regular checkups with your dentist at least twice a year. If you are having issues with your teeth, see your dentist more often. This can help promote the health of your teeth and mouth, and catch any problems in their early stages so that they don’t become major issues.

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