Do you brush your teeth the right way? Note these toothbrush facts

Brushing the teeth is an inseparable part of our daily lives. Toothbrushes get damaged after continuous use and have to be changed before long. New models keep coming to the market, offering a number of options to people. It is certain that toothbrushes would be around in one form or the other as long as humans walk on earth.

The first implement man used to clean teeth was the stick obtained from certain shrubs. According to historians, ancient Egyptians used this technique 5,000 years ago. Subsequently, Chinese people and Indians also started using ‘tooth sticks’.

A toothbrush having bristles was first used in China during the eleventh century. Later in 1780, a British citizen named William Addis designed a toothbrush similar to the one available now. It had fine animal hair fixed on a bone. Soon, toothbrushes made of wood and various metals arrived on the scene.

Here are some facts about brushing your teeth:

» Choosing the right type of toothbrush

Soft, medium and hard toothbrushes are available in the market. While medium is ideal for regular use, soft has to be chosen by people with sour teeth, those subjected to surgery for gum diseases and persons whose gums have receded, exposing the roots of their teeth. On the other hand, hard brushes are effective in cleaning artificial teeth.

» Rigid and flexible brushes

Some toothbrushes are flexible at the ‘neck’ portion. This type is more effective as it can reach more areas of the teeth than a rigid one.

» Battery-operated toothbrushes

Powered or battery-operated devices are also now available. They can be preferred for brushing the teeth of bedridden patients by caregivers. People having disability to move their hands can go in for powered toothbrushes.

» Toothbrush for kids

Specially-designed toothbrushes for children can be purchased. Finger brushes that are fixed to the hand of a mother are ideal for infants aged less than two years. Chewable brushes that can be spat out after use are also available.

» Changing a brush

A toothbrush has to be changed when the bristles get damaged or between six to eight weeks after starting its use, whichever is earlier.

» The right way of brushing

Hold the toothbrush at an angle of 45 degrees to the gums. Brush the teeth in the upper jaw from top to bottom and those in the lower jaw in the reverse direction. The area of the teeth used for biting and chewing should be brushed in a circular motion. For cleaning the inner part of the teeth in the front row, hold the brush longitudinally and move it up and down over the surface.

» Time for brushing

Teeth should be brushed twice daily; in the morning and at night. At least three minutes should be spent for the purpose each time.

» Amount of toothpaste

The paste has to be applied in between the bristles and not above it. This is meant to increase the friction, which would lead to better cleanliness.

» Storing a toothbrush

Wash the toothbrush thoroughly with water after use, shake it well to remove water and place it erect in a holder or cup. If placed horizontally, water might remain on it, leading to contamination. Store the brush at least six feet away from the toilet. Take care to keep the brush safely in a holder so that pests such as lizards, cockroaches and other insects do not come in contact with it.

Before use, wash the brush with lukewarm water. Another point to remember is never to use another person’s toothbrush.

» When not to brush your teeth

Avoid brushing your teeth for one hour after consuming fruit juices, soft drinks with an acidic flavour, soda, lime juice and pickles. If this is done, it may lead to quick decay of teeth.

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