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Posted on: January 12, 2021
Brushing Up on the Benefits of Brushing
Everyone can use a refresher on brushing and flossing. Even though it should be a very familiar routine that you’ve had since childhood, it’s easy to fall into bad habits, like neglecting flossing when you’re dead tired after a long day. With this friendly reminder, you can impress your dentist and hygienist on your next appointment with how clean you’re keeping your teeth. You may also find you have a better checkup with fewer cavities.
Why Is Brushing My Teeth Essential?
It’s not only essential to brush your teeth daily; you need to brush them at least twice a day and floss once a day. There are many reasons to brush your teeth twice daily, including keeping your breath smelling fresh. Brushing also keeps your teeth looking clean and kissable; even non-whitening toothpaste can reduce staining.
Brushing your teeth also removes plaque and helps prevent tarter buildup. Plaque leads to cavities and gum disease, Reducing these problems will save you money in future dental work. It may also save your teeth. If you are avoiding a trip to the dentist, start with the recommendations below to get your oral health back on track. Most of the advice included is reasonable and easy to follow, you only need to make a clean, healthy mouth a priority.
What’s Worse: Plaque or Tartar?
Plaque, the sticky bacteria-filled film that forms on your teeth, can damage tooth enamel, causing cavities if you don’t remove it regularly. You can also cause a bigger problem, like gum disease, if the plaque stays on your teeth long enough to harden into tartar, also called calculus. This often occurs at the gumline, where you may miss while brushing. Tartar can irritate your gums, causing gingivitis. When you develop gingivitis, your gums swell, turn red and you may notice blood when you brush or floss. A professional teeth cleaning and better brushing habits can reverse gingivitis.
If you ignore gingivitis, it can develop into periodontitis. Plaque spreads under the gum line and creates an inflammatory response. Gums pull away from the teeth, and the bone and soft tissues holding the tooth in place deteriorate. Teeth become loose and may fall out. The infection can also spread without treatment, causing problems in other areas of the body. In fact, there have been studies linking respiratory diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and heart diseases to periodontitis. AS dental professionals, we want to help you avoid serious issues, and there are simple steps you can take to make sure you don’t have to deal with severe dental problems in the future.
Toothbrushing 101: The Basics
Up your brushing game with these simple tips to do a more effective job:
1. Find the Right Toothbrush
Any toothbrush with soft bristles of varying heights will work fine as long as you can reach all parts of your mouth with it. Your toothbrush removes bacteria from your mouth, so it is important to keep it clean. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush well. Keep it in a toothbrush holder where it can be stored upright and uncovered, so it air dries. Never share your toothbrush or let it touch anyone else’s toothbrush. Every three months, or after an illness, replace your toothbrush. If you use an electric toothbrush, replace the head every three months.
2. Choose the Right Toothpaste
As long as you choose a fluoride toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, pick the type you prefer. There is a vast array of gels and pastes in more flavors than just mint. You can find whitening toothpaste, anti-sensitivity and anti-gingivitis toothpaste, among many others. Ask your dentist about which one would meet your unique needs. When you’re finished brushing, don’t rinse. Leaving a small amount of toothpaste on your teeth will allow it to do the job it was intended to do.
3. Use a Good Brushing Technique
Brush the outer and inner surfaces of each tooth, keeping your toothbrush’s bristles angled toward your gums. Use a circular motion and then go back-and-forth over the chewing surfaces of your teeth. You should also gently brush your tongue as it can harbor bacteria.
Brush twice a day for at least two minutes. Brushing three times a day is ideal, but you should wait an hour or so after eating a meal before brushing. Certain foods, especially acidic foods, can weaken your tooth enamel temporarily and brushing too soon could cause damage to the enamel.
4. Floss Daily
If you want to prevent gum disease, daily flossing is essential. An American Academy of Periodontology study found over one-third of American adults would rather do something unpleasant, like sit in a traffic jam or clean a toilet, than floss their teeth. Some individuals just don’t like to floss; perhaps they are not aware that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Your dentist or dental hygienist can show you the right way to floss and suggest tools, like a self threaded flosser or a Waterpik, that will make the task easier and quicker.
5. Use a Mouthrinse
According to The American Dental Association, mouthrinses may be useful for some people. Depending on your risk factors, your dentist may recommend you use a mouthwash designed to prevent cavities or reduce plaque. There’s nothing wrong with using mouthwash to make your breath feel clean after eating food that gives you bad breath. However, if you’re using it because you have chronic bad breath, you need to see your dentist to determine the underlying cause.
Your dentist is a good source of information about products to buy that will help you meet your specific needs. Look for the ADA Seal on any product you buy. This lets you know the toothbrush, toothpaste, floss or mouthwash you select has met the organization’s standards for safety and effectiveness.
How Proper Toothbrushing Offers Long-Term Advantages
Developing proper toothbrushing techniques is vital to maintaining healthy teeth and gums and helping to prevent cavities and gum disease. Keeping your natural teeth for a lifetime is possible with good, at-home oral care, regular visits to your dentist and a healthy diet low in sugar. You’ll be healthier and happier with a great smile well into your senior years.