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For most people, brushing has become second nature, and hence they barely think much about it. Without minimising the importance of brushing daily, what matters most is to do it right. Otherwise, it can’t really help you avoid cavities and gum disease or maintain a good oral health. Following are some easy-to-follow tips on how to brush your teeth effectively.

• Make sure you have the right ‘instrument’

Few people know that they should choose their toothbrush in accordance to the size of their mouth. In the event that you need to open really wide to allow the brush in, then it means the toothbrush is simply too large for you. Ideally, this ‘tool’ should feel comfortable both in your hand and in your mouth, so you will want to use it more frequently.

As far as the debate regarding electrical versus manual is concerned, this is a matter of personal choice. According to dentists, electrical toothbrushes make it easier for you to do a better job faster and are perfect for people who suffer from arthritis in the wrist, arms or shoulders. Nevertheless, as long as it’s appropriate for the size of your oral cavity, it’s not the toothbrush, but the brusher that counts.

• Brush for at least 2 minutes

Granted, everyone is familiar with the rule stating that brushing your their teeth should be done two to three times per day, preferably after every meal. While some respect this rule, most fall short on the time. The adequate time to allocate for brushing is 2 minutes on average. Simply divide your mouth into four sections, and dedicate 30 seconds for cleaning each area. Take note that modern electrical toothbrushes come with built-in timers that allow you to track the use time pattern.

• Perfect your technique

Most people use side-to-side wide strokes to brush their teeth, without realizing that this brushing pattern can cause scrapes along the gum line. The correct technique implies holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and employing an up-and-down motion with short strokes. Besides utilizing the correct brushing technique, make sure you’re thorough and address the hard-to-reach areas, where plaque is likely to develop and cause damage.

• Select the right products

Irrespective of what you might have heard, selecting the right toothpaste is just as important as choosing the correct toothbrush. This is because the active ingredients that brighten the enamel or control tartar can be harsh for the gums and teeth. For instance, did you know that toothpastes that contain an increased amount of whitening particles can sand away the tooth’s protective layer of enamel? That outdated fluoride toothpaste actually works better.

• Don’t use too much force

Despite the popular belief, brushing more than three times per day could cause the enamel to wear prematurely, and boosts your chances for sore gums and other oral problems. Remember to always use a lighter touch, especially since it doesn’t require a huge amount of force to remove plaque. If you use an electric toothbrush, then simply guide the tool into your mouth and let the bristles do most of the work.