Don't Rush the Brush-Brush to the Beat!
Despite the variety and advancements in toothbrushes today, people don't
brush long enough to get the best results, reports the Academy of General
"Since many people brush during the morning or at night with the
radio on, I tell my patients to brush for one song," says Luke Matranga,
DDS, one of the Academy's past presidents. "That's about three minutes
-- the right amount of time to get the best results from brushing."
The modern toothbrush has changed a lot since it was invented in China
in 1000 A.D. with bristles made from horse hair. Today, they come in fashion
colors with angled heads, raised bristles that change color with use. But
the mechanical and physical improvements of toothbrushes are not effective
unless they are used correctly.
"People will swear that they've brushed three to four minutes,
but the average person brushes for less than a minute. This is not long
enough to search all areas of the mouth and scrub off cavity causing bacteria,"
says Dr. Matranga.
Generally, a toothbrush should have a long, wide handle with soft bristles.
Be sure to brush on both sides of the teeth and the tongue. Change toothbrushes
every three to four months before their bristles become frayed. Also toss
the toothbrush after an illness to avoid harmful bacteria harbored in the
Electric toothbrushes are a great option for those who have limited
dexterity, such as older people or arthritis suffers, and are effective
for people with braces since the rotating heads can clean hard-to-reach