Don't be that guy. Please. One specimen was more than enough to burn a permanent impression into my brain.
When to brush: at least twice a day, once after breakfast and once after your last meal of the day. You can brush more often if you want, but you shouldn't brush less.
You will need:
- Your very own soft-bristled toothbrush; on which, see more below.
- Fluoride toothpaste.
- A potable water source.
- A cup.
- Somewhere to spit that won't get you in trouble, such as a sink.
- Mouthwash (optional).
- Dental floss or floss picks.
Wet down your toothbrush bristles. Apply a dab of toothpaste to them, about the size of a pea. (Despite what the commercials show, you really don't need more.)
Start at the top front of your teeth, aiming the bristles up at about a 45 degree angle from the tooth surface. You don't need to brush hard; just give each tooth surface a few seconds of attention and move along, gently moving the bristles up into the gum line. Work back to the molars on one side, scrubbing back to front. Then switch the brush around to the other side of your mouth and hit the molars on that side as well.
Flip the brush around to do the inside surfaces of the same teeth, again aiming the bristles up at about a 45 degree angle and working on one tooth surface at a time, hitting the gum line with the bristles.
Now work on the bottom front teeth, aiming the brush down at a 45 degree angle from the tooth surface so you can get those bristles down into the lower gums. Follow the same basic instructions to clean the outside and inside surfaces of the lower teeth.
If you're pressing too hard or you haven't been brushing your gums correctly, you may see some bleeding. If your gums continue to bleed after a few weeks of brushing, it's time to visit the dentist.
Brush your tongue gently to refresh your mouth. Fill your cup with water, swish the water around your mouth well, and spit out the excess toothpaste into the sink. Rinse off your toothbrush in the water and put it away.
If you're using mouthwash, pour a small amount (say about a tablespoon) into the cup, swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds and spit it out into the sink.
Pull off a strand of dental floss about 12 inches long and wrap the ends around your index fingers, or use a floss pick. Work the floss into the spaces between each tooth, top and bottom rows, one by one. When you're finished flossing, you may need to rinse and spit again. Discard the floss.
Now you know. And knowing is half the battle. (G.I. Joe!)