The short answer is 2 minutes.
The longer answer is… as long as it takes to get a clean mouth! Good oral hygiene is essential to maintain dental health and prevent cavities. The goal of good oral hygiene consists of eliminating and controlling bacterial plaque from both dental surfaces and interproximal (in-between) surfaces. Plaque control is essential for dental and periodontal health, and the best way to achieve this is with the correct use of the manual or electric toothbrush, together with dental floss.
The Best Practices of Brushing Your Teeth Include:
- Twice daily brushing for at least 2 minutes.
- A brushing technique that includes thorough cleaning of all surfaces.
- Detailed brushing that allows all teeth and interdental surfaces to be clean.
When is the Best Time to Brush Your Teeth?
Although there is no consensus as to the exact best time to brush, (as it varies person-to-person) from a practical point of view, it is recommended to brush the teeth twice a day, once early and once just before going to sleep. While you sleep, less saliva is produced which protects the teeth, making a clean mouth even more important before bed.
Changing Your Toothbrush – When Is It Time?
The toothbrush should be changed every 2-3 months for adults and a little more frequently for children due to deterioration caused by nibbling as they are learning proper technique and control. Also, if you experience a cold, your brush should be changed to avoid re-contamination.
How Long Should You Brush Your Teeth?
There is a direct relationship between brushing time and the amount of plaque removed—that is, the longer you brush, the more plaque will be removed. According to current scientific evidence, it is recommended to brush your teeth for at least two minutes. Many people believe they are brushing longer than they really are, so setting a timer is recommended to get accustomed to the proper length of time.
Brushing Technique Matters.
Although it is important to pay attention to the brushing time, it is even more important to ensure that all surfaces end up clean. Therefore, proper brushing technique is probably more important than the time spent. Brushing should be done with short, forward and backward movements against the teeth and gums, around the surface of each tooth. The tip of the brush must be used to reach the top and bottom of each front tooth. In addition, it is important not to forget the use of dental floss, since it can get to the areas where the brush can’t reach.
Proper toothbrushing does take a little time—but just a little! The total of just 4 minutes a day will make your mouth clean, and healthy! Are you interested in learning proper tooth-brushing technique? Just ask your dental hygienist at your next regular dental cleaning appointment.