How Long Should I Brush My Teeth For?

14 March, 2017

When you were a child, your parents taught you to brush after every meal. What you may not be aware of is that it takes more than a quick swipe with the toothbrush to do any good. One of the questions that many people have is how long they should take for each round of brushing. Here are some suggestions that different dental professionals recommend.

The Two-Minute Rule

One of the more common recommendations is to spend a full two minutes brushing after each meal. It’s not unusual for people to think they spend this long when in fact they barely make it to the minute mark.

Two minutes of brushing provides the time needed to thoroughly brush the front side of the teeth, pay attention to the backs, and also use the brush to go over the roof of the mouth. This is important, since the prolonged brushing helps to loosen more bacteria and residue. With less residue left on the teeth, the potential for developing common issues like cavities is reduced.

One way to determine if you are brushing for at least two minutes is to set a timer when you begin. Keep brushing until the timer goes off. Repeat this every time you brush after a meal for several days and brushing for the entire two minutes will become a habit.

How About the Three-Minute Rule?

More than one Barrie orthodontist will recommend what is sometimes referred to as the three-minute rule. In this scenario, most of the time is focused on brushing the lower teeth and then the upper teeth. A portion of the time is spent using the up and down strokes that help to remove some of the buildup in between the teeth.

Do These Rules Hold For Those Wearing Braces?

Even if you are wearing metal or similar braces, it pays to time brushing. The ultimate goal of this type of cosmetic dentistry is to leave you with perfectly straight teeth that also happen to be healthy. Your dental professional will provide guidelines for choosing the best type of toothbrush and some suggestions on how to use it effectively. That may include taking longer than two or three minutes to brush.

Would Brushing More Frequently But For Shorter Periods Help?

There is no evidence that brushing more than after each meal provides any benefits. In fact, choosing to brush more than three times a day could damage the tooth enamel. Too much brushing can also create issues with the gum tissue. While it’s not always convenient to take the proper amount of time to brush after a meal, attempting to compensate by brushing more often will not produce the desired result.

If you have more questions about brushing, flossing, or other matters related to dental hygiene, contact the team at the dental clinic today. Some adjustments in your daily routine may be all it takes to keep your teeth strong and looking their best for many years to come.