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You should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, and floss once daily. We all know that is the foundation for great oral hygiene. But what about the proper way to brush? And which kind of toothpaste should you use? Too many of us assume that a tough-bristled toothbrush and lots of harsh toothpaste are the way to go, to scour the plaque off our teeth. Right?

Actually, wrong. In fact, that is pretty much opposite of ideal. The tools you use make a difference in your smile, and choosing the wrong ones can do a lot of damage to gums and enamel. Let’s review the basics of toothbrushes and toothpastes to help you better decide on tools that will help your smile.

When replacing your toothbrush (every three to four months), choose a very soft bristled brush. Medium- to hard-bristled brushes will scrape and damage your enamel and gum tissue, which can open your teeth up to infection and decay. Use gentle pressure and short strokes when brushing–think “massage” rather than “scrub.” Brush for two minutes each session. Repeat this twice a day.

When it comes to toothpaste, you have a lot of options. There are many factors to consider as you decide on the toothpaste you will use.

Fluoride: If you struggle with frequent tooth sensitivity or tooth decay, a fluoride toothpaste may be a great choice for you. It can help fortify enamel, which reduces your risk of sensitivity and decay.

Denture Polish: If you wear dentures, partial dentures, or mouth guards, choose a non-abrasive cleaner; using traditional toothpaste can damage the appliance.

Whitening Toothpaste: A whitening toothpaste can be beneficial to reduce surface stains; however, it is most efficient at maintaining tooth color after a professional whitening treatment. If you struggle with discolored or stained teeth, make an appointment with your dentist.

For more information, call Oconee Dental, PC in Watkinsville, Georgia, at 706-769-1659. Drs. Harmon-Smith and Anthony are happy to recommend tools for at-home dental hygiene.