Hands holding a toothbrush and placing toothpaste on it in morning sunrise

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Toothbrush

You use your toothbrush daily, but odds are you don’t pay too much attention to that little utensil. We think the toothbrush is a pretty cool device, and we think you will too after you learn a little more about it. Below, we share five things you probably didn’t know about your toothbrush and your oral health.

Five Fun Facts About Your Toothbrush

Here’s a look at five things we bet you didn’t know about the toothbrush.

  1. It’s over 5,000 years old – The toothbrush has been around a lot longer than you probably imagined. Although it has had different forms, ancient civilizations first began using “chew sticks” to remove food from between your teeth 5,000 years ago. Over time, toothbrushes were crafted from bone, wood, and ivory handle using stiff bristles from some animals. The first modern-styled toothbrush created in 1938.
  2. The first mass-produced toothbrush was created in prison – Back in 1770, an Englishman named William Addis was sent to jail for inciting a riot. He saw another inmate using a rag to clean his teeth and decided to create a better device. He saved an animal bone from dinner, put holes in it, inserted bristles and sealed it with glue. Following his release, he modified the prototype and started a company and manufactured his toothbrush. His company, Wisdom Toothbrushes, still operates in the United Kingdom.
  3. They Should Be Replaced Every 3-6 Months – Although toothbrushes have been around for 5,000 years, that doesn’t mean your current model should stick around too long. Get in the habit of replacing your toothbrush every 3-6 months, because the bristles can lose their effectiveness by this time. If you’re going to the dentist every six months as is recommended, replace your old toothbrush with the new one you receive after every semi-annual checkup.
  4. Manual or Electric, It Doesn’t Matter – When it comes to brushing your teeth and keeping them clean, it doesn’t matter whether you use a manual or electric option. Both types of toothbrushes can effectively and thoroughly clean your teeth, so find what feels best to you. As long as you’re brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, your teeth are going to be in great shape.
  5. Let Them Breathe, But Not Near Your Toilet – Finally, when you store your toothbrush, you want to keep it out where the bristles can breathe. Closed containers are more conducive to unwanted bacteria growth, so store it upright and where they can get some airflow. Dentists recommend you keep your toothbrush stored at least six feet away from your toilet so airborne microbes don’t reach your brush when you flush.

For more fun facts about toothbrushes, or to get your free toothbrush following a semi-annual checkup, contact our office today.

Kid Brushing Teeth

5 Tooth Brushing Songs To Get Your Kids Brushing

As we’ve stated on the blog in the past, it’s important to instill good brushing habits in your children at an early age. To do that, you need to make the brushing experience entertaining or engaging, and one way you can do that is by connecting to Youtube or a brushing app and playing a short video.

One reason why these videos are helpful is because they are between a minute and a half and two minutes long, the right length of time you and your children should be brushing for each time you pick up your brush. These videos are also useful because your children can see their favorite characters brushing their teeth or singing a song, and this will make the brushing experience more enjoyable.

But as a parent who probably just stared at your reflection when you were brushing as a child, which videos may be the most engaging or worthwhile for your child? Below, we share five of our favorite toothbrushing videos.

Want to learn about more popular topics? Check out dental care FAQ.

Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me – Sesame Street

This upbeat song features Elmo singing and dancing along as he helps explain why brushing is important.

Stop Zombie Mouth – Plants Vs. Zombies

If your kids have ever played the Plants vs. Zombies mobile game, they’ll enjoy this two-minute video when they brush.

Brush Your Teeth – Super Simple Songs

Straight and to the point, this song features some friendly monsters who help to demonstrate good brushing techniques.

Brushing My Teeth – Barney

The purple dinosaur is back to help teach kids how to brush their teeth in this video.

Kids Just Love To Brush – Sesame Street

A knock off of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” will be enjoyable for both kids and adults who remember the original.

If your child has a favorite cartoon character, odds are they are in a toothbrushing video, so see what you can find on Youtube to help make the brushing experience more interactive and enjoyable! For more tips and tricks, reach out to Dr. Brooks’ office today.

Brushing Technique

The Best Tooth Brushing Techniques

For most people, brushing their teeth is a mindless activity that is performed in the morning and before they go to bed. They don’t pay much attention to their brushing technique, and that can actually leave them exposed to dental problems. There’s a technique behind good brushing mechanics, and we’re going to walk you through them in today’s blog.

Know The Angles

For most surfaces, you can best hit their surface by having your brush at a 45-degree angle in relation to the tooth. With that said, sometimes it’s easier to hit the tops of our back teeth by turning the brush so it’s parallel to your tongue.

All Three Surfaces

When mindlessly brushing, you’re more likely to just hit the outer surface of your teeth, but that’s not going to protect them. You want to hit the front, back and tops of every tooth, and try to hit the back sides of the last teeth in the back of your mouth. Just because you can’t see these surfaces when you smile doesn’t mean that you can ignore them when brushing.

Brush Pattern

Use short strokes to effectively clean your teeth surfaces. These short, quick maneuvers will best help to remove plaque and other food particles from the surface of your teeth. When it comes to a side-to-side or circular brushing technique, it doesn’t really matter which technique you use so long as you spend enough time hitting each tooth surface.

Go The Extra Mile

For best results, don’t just brush your teeth. Brushing can’t hit between teeth surfaces very easily, so a lot of people pair brushing with another activity, like flossing or with mouthwash. Try to get in the habit of flossing at least once a day to remove food particles that brushing can’t reach, and consider adding mouthwash to your routine for extra protection.

If you’re following these brushing basics, we’re confident that you will have a healthy and bright smile for years to come. We also recommend pairing your daily dental habits with regular trips to the dentist’s office so they can do some deeper cleaning and take x-rays to look for things you can’t spot with the naked eye. If you’re interested in talking with a dentist about the best ways to protect your teeth, or you want to set up your next dental visit, reach out to Dr. Brooks’ office today.

5 Ways To Develop Healthy Brushing Habits in Children

Getting kids to buy into brushing their teeth regularly is one of the best things a parent can do for their child’s teeth. Creating an environment where a child wants to brush their teeth, or at a minimum doesn’t hate doing it, is easier said than done. Try different techniques to see what works best for your kids, because getting them to establish a brushing routine will not only protect their teeth for decades, but it may also lower your dental bill.

Everyone has their own theory for how to best get kids to buy into a healthy dental routine, but we’ve talked with a lot of parents and have a good gauge for what seems to work best. Here are our five industry tips for getting your kids to brush their teeth regularly.

Getting Kids To Brush Their Teeth

Try one or more of these techniques if you’re trying to help your child establish a good brushing routine.

  1. Have Fun – Brushing your teeth doesn’t need to be boring. Turn on some music or have a dance party while you brush. This will help your child associate brushing their teeth with other fun activities, and this will help brushing become routine.
  2. Stick to the Plan – If the kids have had a long day and are clearly overtired, it can be easy to just ship them off to bed without going through the normal bedtime routine. The problem with this is that if skipping brushing happens more than once a week, your child is going to have a tough time developing a habit where brushing their teeth before bed becomes the norm. Same goes for in the morning. Get them out of bed and into the bathroom to brush their teeth. Skipping brushing sessions hurts the formation of a regular routine.
  3. Incorporate Their Interests – If your child has a favorite cartoon character, try to work that character into the brushing routine. See if you can find them on a toothbrush, or see if Youtube has two-minute videos featuring that character your child can watch while they brush their teeth. There are also apps that feature some favorite cartoon characters that can help make brushing more relatable to your child.
  4. Make it a Family Affair – When children are young, they want to be like their parents, so make sure you are setting a good example for your children. Better yet, make time to brush your teeth at the same time as your child so they can see that you also value your smile. They are going to want to be like you, so lead by example.
  5. Avoid Reward/Discipline – Finally, we’ve found that reward or discipline systems aren’t always the best route to pursue. We understand that holding back ice cream until your child eats their vegetables may work well at the dinner table, but punishing bad brushing behaviors doesn’t help to foster a healthy attitude about brushing. They are going to view brushing as a means to an end, not as a routine activity that needs to be performed. We want children to want to brush their teeth, not children who brush just to get it over with and avoid punishment. To each their own, but we’ve found that this may not be the best strategy.

For more tips, or for questions about your child’s dental health, reach out to Smiles for Life Dental today.

Electric Toothbrush

Does An Electric Toothbrush Work Better Than A Manual?

Electric toothbrushes have grown in popularity in recent years, but many people wonder if they actually do a better job cleaning their teeth than a standard hand-held toothbrush. So which one should you choose for your mouth? We answer that question and more in today’s blog.

Benefits and Drawbacks

An electric toothbrush does offer a couple distinct advantages over a manual toothbrush, but it also has some drawbacks. For starters, electric toothbrushes may be a good option for older adults who have trouble reaching all surfaces of their teeth, or who have a condition like arthritis that can make twisting and turning your wrist painful. Electric toothbrushes can also be beneficial for children, who may find the electric option a little more exciting than the standard toothbrush. If it encourages them to brush more frequently and more thoroughly, then it may be worth the investment.

On the flip side, electric toothbrushes also have some drawbacks. For starters, they need a power source in order to function, so if you’re going on a trip and your forget your charger or batteries, you may be reduced the a handheld option. Secondly, electric options are typically much more expensive than a standard toothbrush, easily running ten times the price of a regular toothbrush, and they are even more expensive in comparison if you get your toothbrush free from the dentist after a visit!

Electric Vs. Manual Toothbrush

But now to answer the question that’s the focus of the blog, do electric toothbrushes clean better than manual brushing options? The answer is no.

Standard toothbrushes clean just as well as electric options so long as the brusher takes two minutes to really clean every surface of their teeth. It’s is much more important to practice good brushing habits than to choose one type of toothbrush over the other. However, as we mentioned above, some people may find other benefits of one specific type of toothbrush, so either option works fine if you commit to a good dental hygiene plan.

For more information on the differences between an electrical and manual toothbrush option, or to lean more about developing a good dental hygiene plan, reach out to Dr. Brooks office today.

Toothbrush FAQ

4 Toothbrush FAQs

The average person has a lot of questions about toothbrushes – how to use them, store them, and more. In this article, we are going to answer some frequently asked questions about toothbrushes.

Should I Brush First or Floss First?

Many patients ask what the correct order of operations is when it comes to brushing and flossing. The truth is that it doesn’t matter all that much. The most important thing is to brush and floss your teeth regularly – regardless of the order.

Where Should I Keep My Toothbrush?

It’s a common misconception that you should keep your toothbrush in a sealed container in between uses. In fact, it’s much better to keep your toothbrush out in the open after use. This allows it to air dry effectively. Keeping it in a closed contained allows for an increased change of bacterial growth. Keep your toothbrush out in the open, upright, and make sure it’s not touching any other toothbrushes.

How Often (and How Long) Should I Brush?

The general rule of thumb is brush your teeth twice a day, for two to three minutes at a time. Many people brush in the morning when the get up and right before bed. Do whatever works for you but be sure to brush twice a day!

How Should I Position the Brush?

We recommend placing the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the gum line so that the bristles are pointing where they can gently brush under the gums. Using a circular technique along the gum line instead of a back and forth scrub technique works the best to remove plaque.

Dentist’s Office in Bloomington, MN

Dr. Tim Brooks has many years of experience helping patients in the Twin Cities and surrounding area with their dental health needs. At Smiles for Life, we work with patients to provide individualized care from start to finish. Our team provides family and cosmetic dentistry and has the skills to address your dental issue – whatever it may be. Contact us today to set up your appointment with Dr. Brooks at our Bloomington dental clinic and keep your teeth happy and healthy!

Toothbrushing Kid

3 Toothbrushing Tips for Kids

Teaching kids the importance of dental health care early in their development is important in setting good habits that will last a lifetime. In this article, we’re going to offer several tips for toothbrushing specifically geared at children.

Choose the Right Toothbrush

An important first step, before you even begin brushing, is finding the right toothbrush. This is something that adults don’t often think too much about. Most people just grab the toothbrush with the best price. However, finding the right toothbrush is much more important for children because their teeth are much more sensitive than an adult’s teeth. Make sure you get a toothbrush with soft bristles.

Teach Proper Brushing Technique

Brushing technique is also an important factor. Make sure they brush all three sides of the teeth (front, back, and top), and brush with a gentle circular motion. A good teaching method is to place your hand over the child’s as they hold the brush and guide them through the proper brushing motions.

Get the Child Engaged in the Brushing

For many kids (and many adults) brushing is thought of as a chore. Try to get the child more engaged in brushing by using a song, counting game, or timer to encourage them to brush for two minutes.

Dentist Office in Bloomington, MN

With decades of experience and a strong reputation, Dr. Tim Brooks is equipped to handle all of your family or cosmetic dentistry needs. At Smiles for Life, we make it a point to provide top-notch, compassionate care to every patient who walks through our doors. Whether you’re seeing us for the first time, or you’ve been coming to Smiles for Life for years, we’ll always greet you with a wide smile. Make an appointment with us at our Bloomington or Farmington dental offices and brighten up your smile today!