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The bedrock of great oral hygiene is brushing your teeth. But have you ever wondered if you're doing it wrong? It's such a common act that most people may not realize that there are certain ways to brush that maximize cleanliness in your mouth.

When you pick up the toothbrush, you should always remember to:

♦ Reach behind the molars – This area in your mouth is one of those hard-to-reach spaces that requires a lot of attention. According to dental experts, we tend to chew our food in the middle or back of our mouths, which can cause plaque accumulation around the molars. Give this region some extra attention – your teeth will thank you.

♦ Spend at least two minutes brushing – You should take the time to carefully brush each "quadrant" of your mouth. Start with the left and right side of your upper teeth before doing the same on the bottom row. Brushing your tongue gently to remove build-up can help you avoid bad breath as well.

♦ Use enough toothpaste – When people are in a rush to get ready in the morning, they may not put enough paste on the brush to sufficiently clean your mouth. One way to avoid this issue is to only place the toothbrush under the faucet briefly. By doing so, you won't run the risk of sending quality toothpaste down the drain.

The key to toothbrushing success is maintaining a routine. Doctors recommend you brush at least twice a day. If possible, use mouthwash and floss once a day. These hygiene methods, in conjunction with visits to a family dentistry practice, will go a long way to ensuring a healthy smile for years to come.

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