How long do I need to brush my teeth? How Often?
- Twice a day is critical to remove the bacteria/plaque every 12 hours.
- Your toothbrush should be changed every 3 months, after you have been sick, or if it’s worn out (ideally, you won’t be brushing hard enough that this happens; we need to be friendly with our gums or damage is possible).
If you have a hand toothbrush, then 3-4 minutes is recommended.
If you have an electric toothbrush (it gets more action/movement than your hand), then 2 minutes is ideal.
For kids, I suggest a timer or a song they like. It can be anything with the right length amount of time. They have fewer teeth, so sticking with 2 minutes for hand toothbrushing is likely OK.
Sometimes We Go On Autopilot
However, sometimes the standard time doesn’t account for the individual’s “style” of brushing. Often, we go on autopilot while brushing our teeth and don’t realize we may be missing areas or are not doing it adequately. This is where regular appointments with your dental professional help to coach you or your kids on where is being missed or tips and tricks for how to make it more efficient.
Dry Brush Technique
If you’re a person who brushes regularly, but still misses plaque then, I recommend “mindful” brushing and to try the “dry brush” technique. See below for instructions.
Sometimes toothpaste disguises how our teeth feel after brushing because of the flavour and ingredients. It may help to try brushing first without paste (yes, that’s right. I said try without toothpaste first) and feel your teeth after with your tongue (our tongues are super sensitive detectives for our teeth). If they feel grimy or like a film is on there still, then you know that you need to go back and do it all over again. Talk about a useful built-in teaching tool. When they feel clean and smooth, then you can do a quick zip with your toothpaste if you like or go straight to mouth wash.
American Dental Association
Canadian Dental Association