Mindful brushing – making the most of two whole minutes
How long is two minutes really?
“Everyone should be brushing their teeth twice a day, bookending the day. If you do so mindfully, you can also be ‘brushing your brain.” – Dr. Fern White (source)
Okay, so two minutes can seem like a long time when you’re just brushing your teeth. A wonderful way to help ensure that you brush for the appropriate length of time is to practice mindful brushing. “What is mindful brushing?” you ask.
According to Dr. Fern White, an Australia-based practitioner of “mindful dentistry,” mindful brushing, similar to most mindfulness activities, is all about paying attention, engaging your senses and taking your time.
So how do you turn a monotonous, routine activity like brushing your teeth into a mindfulness exercise?
HERE’S A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE:
- First, take a couple of long, deep breaths through the nose. Feel the sensations of the air on the top of your nostrils.
- Hold your toothbrush and look at it. Notice the design – the fine bristles, colours, texture, angle of the handle, weight, and anything else you see or feel.
- Pick up the toothpaste and slowly squeeze it onto the brush.
- Notice the sensations the toothpaste causes as it makes contact with the palette and the surfaces of your teeth. What sensations do you feel? Try naming them.
- Begin to brush by making small, slow movements. Observe the rhythm of your hand, arm, and torso as you continue to brush.
- Continue paying attention to anything (e.g. sensations, emotions, etc.) that surfaces.
- After two minutes have passed, and while continuing to pay attention to the present moment, spit out the toothpaste. As you rinse the mixture down the drain, notice the sounds of the flowing water, how your hands feel when turning the water on and off, and anything else that arises.
- Rinse the toothbrush and notice anything that your senses pick up.
- Cap the toothpaste, take a few more breaths as described in step #1, and continue on with your day.
- Most importantly, carry this attitude of mindfulness with you into your next task, and the next.
For more great advice from our local Moss Vale Dental team make an appointment by calling (02) 4869 3111