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You're Probably Forgetting To Brush This Part Of Your Teeth

HuffPost logo HuffPost 8/8/2017 Carly Ledbetter
Are you brushing correctly? © andresr via Getty Images Are you brushing correctly?

Despite most of us thinking that we’re brushing our teeth correctly or flossing frequently enough, dentist visits are often full of surprises. Irritation, cavities, gingivitis ― the list of our maladies goes on and on. 

It’s always important to go back to basics and make sure that you’re brushing your teeth with proper technique. When it comes to ways people are brushing their teeth incorrectly, Jessica Hilburg, DDS and associate dean for clinical affairs at the NYC College of Dentistry, is the expert.

She told HuffPost that there’s one important part of your mouth that too many people skip over.   

“Sometimes people forget to brush the insides of their teeth, the surfaces that face the tongue and the palate,” Hilburg told HuffPost. ”Sometimes people forget these areas because we don’t see them when we look in the mirror. Food and plaque can buildup in these areas so it’s just as important to brush there as it is on the front of our teeth where we can easily see.” 

Hilburg also said not brushing your teeth long enough (she recommends brushing for at least two minutes twice a day) and using the wrong amount of pressure while brushing is also incorrect. 

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Video: What happens when you don't floss? (USA Today)

“Applying too much pressure while brushing could damage gums and be abrasive to the teeth,” she said. “Applying too little pressure while brushing just isn’t as effective and will not remove the plaque as well as using gentle pressure. [Also] just rubbing the toothbrush back and forth in long strokes will not do as good a job as the short strokes because the short strokes allow you to get in between the teeth much better.”  

She added, “The ‘right amount of pressure’ is pressure that feels comfortable, does not crush the bristles of the toothbrush (too much pressure) and of course leaves your teeth feeling and looking clean.” 

If you want to double check your brushing techniques and times, Hilburg suggests following the instructions on the American Dental Association’s website.

“It should take two minutes to brush your whole mouth ― 30 seconds for top teeth surfaces that face the lip and cheek, 30 seconds for top teeth inside surfaces and same for bottom teeth ― a total of two minutes. The chewing surfaces should be brushed while doing the sides,” Hilburg said. 

“Regardless of the technique used even if you aren’t as organized as I’ve described, tooth brushing should touch upon all surfaces—inner, outer and chewing surfaces.” 

Hilburg also gave HuffPost suggestions about the right type of toothbrush and toothpaste people should use ― and what to avoid. 

“Using a soft toothbrush is recommended, as bristles that are too hard can damage gums and may not be flexible enough to remove the plaque,” Hilburg said. “Soft bristle toothbrushes are best whether they are manual or power brushes. Choose a size toothbrush that feels comfortable and isn’t so large that it won’t fit on the sides of your teeth comfortably.” 

Hilburg added, “A toothpaste with fluoride will help decrease the risk of decay and cavities. If any toothpaste felt irritating then of course a person should avoid it.” 

In order to maintain good oral hygiene, Hilburg also recommends flossing daily, brushing your tongue and using an interdental cleaner (a small pointy brush) as well. And don’t forget the inside of your teeth! 

Slideshow: Why You Shouldn't Skip Brushing Your Teeth (Even If You're Feeling Lazy) (Courtesy: Refinery29) 

Daily brushing gets harmful bacteria out of your mouth.: When you brush your teeth, you're removing bacteria that colonizes in your mouth after you eat, says <a href="http://www.jonathanblevine.com/">Jonathan Levine</a>, DMD. Plus, you're also brushing away any leftover pieces of food that can cause gum irritation. <br><br>"The longer you allow bacteria to colonize and collect, the more you nurture the progression of disease," Dr. Levine says. "Brushing well and often will keep the bacterial balance in the mouth healthy and not swing to the bad bacteria that causes decay and gum disease."<br><br>The human mouth is home to billions of bacteria — some good, some bad, and some benign — so removing excess harmful bacteria via daily brushing is a good idea if you want to avoid tooth decay and oral diseases like periodontitis. Why You Shouldn't Skip Brushing Your Teeth (Even If You're Feeling Lazy)
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