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Are you brushing your teeth correctly? Before you answer that, you may want to consider the following tooth brushing basics.

First, your toothbrush needs to be in good shape. If the bristles are worn and flattened out or drooping, it is time to replace your toothbrush. Ideally you should replace your toothbrush at least every three months.

Second, select a toothpaste that contains fluoride. If your toothpaste has a whitening or desensitizing agent, or has ingredients to freshen your breath or fight plaque and gum disease, that’s fine, but your toothpaste needs to contain fluoride and should carry the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. It should be small enough to reach all of the parts your mouth and each of your teeth.

Third, do you spend enough time brushing your teeth? Most people don’t. To brush your teeth effectively, you need to take about two minutes, twice a day. You should brush the fronts and backs of your teeth, along with the chewing and biting surfaces. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth, and brush away from your gums. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, since bacteria accumulates there as well.

Fourth, if you want to brush after every meal, wait for about 30 minutes after eating. That will give the saliva in your mouth time to wash away the acids from your food.

Brushing your teeth is vitally important to your oral health. But, no matter how well you brush and floss, there is no substitute for regular appointments with your dentist for a cleaning and exam.

If it is time for your visit with the dentist, Dr. Monila Reheman would love to see you! If you live in the Madison, New Jersey, area, please call 973-360-9800 to make an appointment at Family Dentistry. We look forward to seeing you soon!