Did you know that people have been cleaning their teeth since 3500 BC? That’s over 5,000 years ago! However, the toothbrushes back then would look very different from what we use today. The original toothbrush was called a chewstick and it was made from tree branches – the ends of the branch were smashed and the frayed ends acted like bristles. Can you imagine brushing your teeth with a stick? Over the years other styles developed. Some toothbrushes had handles made from gold and ivory, while others had bristles made from pig and horse hair. The toothbrush has evolved a lot since then.
Before we discuss brushing, there are some things you need to know to pick out the perfect brush for you. Make sure your toothbrush has soft-bristles and is small enough for your mouth. Hard bristles can damage your gums and a toothbrush that is too big is hard to manage so you miss spots. In addition, make sure to get a new toothbrush every three months or sooner if it starts wearing out. Always get a new toothbrush after you get sick!
Now that you know how to pick out the best toothbrush for you, you’re ready to brush your teeth. Add a small amount of toothpaste to the end of your brush. Some brushes even have colored bristles to show how much toothpaste to use. Brush in small circles for two minutes morning and night. Make sure to brush the inside, outside, and chewing portions of every tooth. Don’t forget to brush your tongue too!
You’re not quite finished yet because you still have to floss! Flossing is important because it removes the food and plaque that get trapped between your teeth in areas that your toothbrush cannot reach. This can lead to cavities, bleeding gums, and stinky breath. Yuck!
Any type of floss is good to use. Waxed or unwaxed, string floss, floss picks, or dental tape. It even comes in different colors and flavors. The best kind of floss is the kind you will use every day!
To floss properly, tear off a little over a foot of floss. Then wrap each end around your middle fingers. Leave enough floss in-between your fingers so that you can work it between your teeth. Work the floss gently between your teeth and curve the floss around one side of the tooth so that it makes a C-shape. Then move the C-shaped floss up and down on each side of the tooth. Be careful near your gums and don’t snap the floss between your teeth if it gets stuck. This can cut your gums! Repeat this so that each tooth is cleaned. Even floss behind your very back teeth – this is an area most people miss. Do this every night. It might take some getting used to but if you keep with it, you’ll be breezing through it in no time!