Best Brushing Techniques for Healthy Gums

Top tips for keeping those gums healthy!

Are you making healthy gums a priority? Many adults in the U.S. and around the world are affected by some degree of gum disease, from minor cases of gingivitis to the more advanced periodontitis. The effects of gum disease range from gum inflammation and frequent bleeding to severe tissue damage and loss of teeth. So, how can we help to prevent this common ailment?
It’s been ingrained in us from a young age that to maintain optimal oral health you should consistently brush your teeth twice a day and regularly floss, but are you getting the most o
ut of each brushing? Here’s a simple guide to brushing your teeth in a way that supports healthy gums.
Pick your Brush. The first step to a healthier mouth is the right tools, but with so many brushes on the market today, how do you go about picking one that’s right for you?
When choosing your brush, opt for one with soft bristles, even if you don’t think you have sensitive teeth or gums. Bristles that are able to easily bend during brushing get into the spaces between the teeth and gums, clearing out the harmful bacteria that promote gum disease. Harder bristles can be rough on gums, irritating them and sometimes even causing inflammation or damage to the structure of the tooth.
Choose an ergonomic design that’s easy to grip and a brush head size that fits your mouth. Picking a brush size and shape that’s right for your mouth makes it easier to get to all of those hard-to-reach places. Some handles and brush heads are more flexible than others, allowing for easier access to all areas of the mouth.
Hone your Technique. To brush your teeth thoroughly, you must consider how long you brush, as well as how you brush. It’s widely recommended that adults brush for at least two minutes, twice a day, which is substantially longer than the average person normally brushes. You can get a better feel for how long two minutes actually is by using the timer on your phone.
Begin by holding your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line, making small circles towards the gums. Make sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth– the fronts, backs, and chewing surfaces– getting into all of the hard-to-reach areas that are sometimes neglected. Be sure to move slowly, cleaning teeth and gums with gentle, circular, up-and-down movements.
The final steps to ensuring a clean mouth and fresh breath is cleaning your tongue and flossing. Use the brush’s bristles or a tongue scraper to clear away stagnant bacteria on the surface of the tongue. Lastly, use traditional dental floss or flossers to clear bacteria from in between the teeth.  
A Couple of Things to Remember. There are a couple of very common brushing habits that might do more harm than good. One of these is brushing too harshly. We tend to think that the more vigorously we brush, the cleaner our teeth will be. Be sure to brush gently with a soft bristle brush to avoid wearing down the teeth and irritating the gums.
Another common oral hygiene mistake is keeping your toothbrush for too long. Brushes should be replaced every three months or whenever wear is apparent, such as on the handle, head of the brush, or when the bristles begin to fray. Regular replacement helps you to avoid brushing with a bacteria-ridden brush.
By following these tips when caring for your teeth, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing gum disease and keep your smile beautiful for life.