Dental Health for Seniors: How to Properly Brush Your Teeth

A considerable amount of research has been undertaken regarding the proper way in which to brush your teeth. Appropriate dental care is particularly important for seniors because, like all parts of the body, teeth become more vulnerable as we age. In this article on dental health for seniors, we provide information about how to brush your teeth properly.

How to Select a Proper Toothbrush

There are a number of factors that you need to take into consideration when selecting a suitable toothbrush. These include:

  • Manual versus electric
  •  ADA accepted toothbrush
  •  Toothbrush bristles
  •  Size of the toothbrush head
  •  Handle flexibility

Manual Versus Electric

When selecting a toothbrush, you have two basic options. You can select a manual or electric toothbrush. If you select a quality product, choosing a manual or electric toothbrush becomes a matter of personal preference. The key is to ensure you understand the proper technique to brush your teeth, which is discussed in detail in a moment.

ADA Accepted Toothbrush

When on the market for a toothbrush, you are well served to select an option that has been accepted by the American Dental Association of ADA. You will see a tag on toothbrush packaging that indicates a particular product has been selected by the ADA.

Toothbrush Bristles

When it comes to toothbrush bristles, there are three options to select from. These are hard, medium, and soft. In most cases, a person is wise to go with soft bristles. When choosing medium or hard bristles, you may create problems with tooth enamel and your gums.

Your dentist might recommend a medium or hard bristle alternative. There may be a reason why this recommendation is being made, and you should discuss this with your dentist.

Size of Toothbrush Head

Another consideration to bear in mind when selecting a toothbrush is the size of the head. Toothbrushes come with heads of different sizes. You need to make sure that you select a derivation that can comfortably and easily reach all areas of your mouth, including your back teeth.

Handle Flexibility

In addition to considering the bristles and the size of the toothbrush head, you will also want to pay attention to handle flexibility. For more people, a more flexible handle makes sense. With a more flexible toothbrush handle, you are better able to get to harder-to-reach places in your mouth.

Consider Recommendations From Your Dentist

Your dentist may be able to make a toothbrush recommendation to you. Remember that your dentist will be the most familiar with your overall dental health and would be in an ideal position to make toothbrush recommendations for you.

Proper Technique for Brushing Your Teeth

Dentists are in relatively uniform agreement on the proper technique you should employ to brush your teeth. The steps in the process of properly brushing your teeth are as follows:

  • Brush your teeth using fluoride toothpaste for two minutes.
  •  Divide the time spent brushing among the upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right teeth. You will want to spend 30 seconds per section.
  •  Angle the brush. The bristles should be aimed toward the gums where they meet the teeth. This is the natural junction where plaque can collect. Dentists stress that you want to avoid the bristles being perpendicular to your teeth, not at a 90-degree angle. Rather, you ideally want the bristles at a 45-degree angle for optimal impact.
  •  Make circles with the bristles. You do this by rotating the bristles around and around. You will want to do this in a gentle sweeping motion. This will help grab debris at the gum line.
  •  Brush without distractions so you can focus on your brushing technique.
  •  We already noted the need to be gentle. This is of such importance that we add a bit more to this specific requirement. If you press too hard while brushing, you will irritate and potentially injure your gums.
  •  Make certain you brush your tongue. Your tongue collects a considerable amount of bacteria that must be brushed away.
  •  Rinse your mouth and your brush. Wash away all traces of toothpaste and food debris away.
  •  Take a peek at your gums. When you finish brushing, pull your lips away from your teeth to see if you left food particles around your teeth. Your gums should not look red or swollen.

How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

Ideally, you should replace your toothbrush every three months. However, if you are sick or have been exposed to germs, you may need to replace your toothbrush more often.

How Should I Store My Toothbrush?

How to store your toothbrush is an important question. Remember that improper storage can lead to bacteria growth and result in oral health problems. Here are a few tips on how to store your toothbrush:

  • Store your toothbrush in a dry place
  •  Store your toothbrush in a place where it will not be exposed to sunlight
  •  Store your toothbrush away from other objects that may harbor bacteria, such as dirty dishes
  •  If you are using an electric toothbrush, make sure to clean the brush head regularly

How Often Should I Get Professional Teeth Cleaning?

Finally, many people wonder how often they should get professional teeth cleaning. The answer depends on several factors, such as your oral hygiene habits and the state of your teeth and gums. In general, most people should visit the dentist for professional teeth cleaning every six months. However, if you have gum disease or other dental problems, you may need to go more often. Your dentist can assist you in developing a plan for regular teeth cleanings.

Regular teeth cleanings also allow your dentist to examine your teeth and mouth. This is important to ensure that any potential dental or oral health issues are detected early on and can be addressed promptly.