A toothbrush is an instrument used to clean your entire mouth. When used properly, your toothbrush cleans not only your teeth, but also your tongue, gums and palate. Before the invention of the toothbrush, people used various natural objects to clean their teeth, such as twigs, feathers and porcupine quills. The first bristled toothbrushes were manufactured in china over 1200 years ago, and made their way into Europe in the 17th century. The invention of the toothbrush dramatically changed the way people approach oral hygiene, but in order to get the most out of your toothbrush, you need to know how to use it properly.
Most toothbrushes are made from synthetic fibers, such as nylon, but you can also find toothbrushes made from natural fibers like boar bristles. Toothbrush bristles range from extra-soft to hard. Most dental professionals recommend that you use soft bristles. This is because when you brush with firmer bristles you are more likely to avoid sensitive areas, like your gums. Neglecting these areas can lead to long-term oral health issues. Firmer bristles can also wear away the protective enamel layer from your teeth, putting you at greater risk for developing cavities.
For maximum benefit you should typically combine your toothbrush with a toothpaste containing fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral known to reduce cavities and make your teeth stronger. Be careful, though, if you live in area where the water is fluoridated you may need to use a toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. This is especially true if you have children, who can suffer serious complications from consuming too much fluoride. The best way to find out if your water is fluoridated is to contact a dental professional.
Even though you are always told to "brush your teeth," proper oral hygiene requires that you brush your entire mouth. Use a gentle circular motion to clean your teeth and massage your gums. Pay particular attention to the inside of your mouth. The backs of the teeth and inside gum lines are often missed when brushing, which can promote cavity formation in those areas. You should also brush the inside of your cheeks, top of your palate and your tongue to ensure that you kill all germs. This not only protects your teeth, but also help eliminate bad breath. After you brush, rinse with a mouthwash recommended by your dentist; and, of course, don't forget to floss!
By using your toothbrush properly, you can prevent cavities, eliminate bad breath and encourage healthy gums. If you are unsure of your brushing technique, visit your dentist or oral hygienist. They can observe your technique and provide any additional guidance.