You go to the dentist every six months (ish) and brush twice a day (usually). But when it comes to keeping your pearly whites, well, pearly, things are a bit more involved than just checkups and scrubbing sessions. Like, do you really need to floss? And do the whitening tricks you see on TikTok *really* work? Here’s everything you need to know about getting healthier—and, yes, whiter—teeth.
Q: ISN'T BRUSHING BASI-CALLY JUST BRUSHING? LIKE, DO I NEED TO BE USING A CERTAIN TECHNIQUE?
A: The short answer? Yes, says Dr. Lawrence Fung, dentist and founder of Silicon Beach Dental in Los Angeles. “Always brush at a 45-degree angle so the bristles can get under the gums to sweep away plaque.” Brush for a total of two minutes: 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth (top left and right, then bottom left and right).
HOW DO I CHOOSE A TOOTHBRUSH? SO. MANY. OPTIONS!
Go for an electric toothbrush, says dental hygienist Jessica Morgan. “Two minutes of brushing with an electric toothbrush is more than you could do in a month with a regular brush.” (Try the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, $60, walmart.com.)
And regardless of whether your toothbrush is manual or electric, always opt for soft bristles (they’re gentler on your teeth and gums).
BRUSHING RIGHT AFTER A MEAL IS IDEAL, RIGHT?
Actually, wait a bit after chowing down, advises cosmetic dentist Dr. Brian Kantor. “Your enamel temporarily softens when you eat or drink something acidic or sweet, so waiting to brush will actually help prevent further staining and damage,” he says. The ideal breather before you brush? At least 45 minutes.
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