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We know that the foundation for good oral hygiene is to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, and floss once daily. But what about the proper technique to brush? What sort of toothpaste should I use? Too many of us assume that a tough-bristled toothbrush and lots of abrasive toothpaste are the way to go, to scour the plaque off our teeth. Right?

Wrong. Actually, that may be considered the opposite of ideal. It is true that the tools you use make a difference in your smile, and choosing the wrong ones can do a lot of damage. Let’s review the basics of toothbrushes and toothpaste, to make sure you choose the best possible tools for your smile.

First, always choose a very soft bristled toothbrush. Medium- to hard-bristled brushes can scrape and damage your enamel, which can open your teeth and gums up to infection and decay. Use gentle pressure when brushing. Brush for two minutes each session and repeat twice a day. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months.

There are many things to consider as you decide on the toothpaste you will use. If you struggle with frequent tooth sensitivity or tooth decay, a fluoride toothpaste may be an excellent choice for you; it can help fortify enamel and reduces your risk for sensitivity and decay. 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 have stained or discolored teeth, schedule a teeth whitening appointment with your dentist.

For more information, call Algiers Dental Associates in New Orleans, Louisiana, at 504-361-3277. Dr. John Hobgood and our team are happy to recommend tools for at-home dental hygiene.