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Posted on: December 29, 2020
Brush Up on the Benefits of Brushing
Toothbrushing is an ingrained habit. We brush at least once a day, and most of us brush twice a day like we’re supposed to. The American Dental Association recommends brushing for two minutes two or more times a day. Just because we make brushing a habit, it doesn’t mean we doing it like we should. There’s nothing wrong with brushing up on your skills, especially since it can help you keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Why Is Tooth Brushing Essential for Good Dental Health?
The most obvious benefit to brush your teeth twice daily is to have clean, fresh breath. When your teeth are covered in plaque, they feel sticky and you know your breath does not smell its best. Most people feel a clean, healthy smile is an asset in their life. The long-term benefit is better dental health. When you keep your teeth clean, you reduce your risk of developing cavities and gum disease. Gum disease can cause or aggravate many serious health problems in addition to causing tooth loss.
Dental problems can be expensive and even painful to fix. Good brushing can help you avoid unnecessary trips to the dentist for tooth extractions, fillings, crowns and more. Good oral health is often linked to good overall health, so it’s important to follow the recommendations below and those of your dentist.
Is Plaque Harmful to My Teeth?
When you eat and drink, the food mixes with your saliva and creates plaque. The colorless, sticky film of bacteria is constantly forming in your mouth. Brushing twice daily and flossing will keep the plaque from building up on your teeth and hardening into tartar. Tartar is a yellowish substance that accumulates on your teeth from plaque buildup. You can’t remove it by brushing or flossing. you need a professional dental cleaning to get it off your teeth.
When you get tartar along your gum line, it will begin to irritate your gums, making them swell and bleed easily. This is gingivitis, a early, curable form of gum disease. Typically a professional teeth cleaning and better dental hygiene will reverse gingivitis. If gingivitis isn’t treated, it may progress into periodical disease, an advanced form of gum disease. Periodontal disease can be treated and its progress stopped. If a person lets periodontal disease go unchecked, the infection will damage the tissues, ligaments and bone holding teeth in place. The teeth become loose and may fall out. The disease also increases a person’s risk of developing various cardiovascular diseases.
What Makes a Good Teeth Brushing Routine?
The American Dental Association has helpful recommendations for an effective oral care routine that will keep your teeth and gums healthy:
Find a Toothbrush You Like
The most important thing to remember is to use a toothbrush with soft, rounded bristles. The soft bristles will bend, making it easier to get in tight spots. Hard bristle toothbrushes, even medium ones, can damage your tooth enamel and gums. Make sure the handle is long enough for you to reach the back of your mouth. Manual and electric toothbrushes are both good choices; your brushing technique is more important than the toothbrush you use. Replace your toothbrush as soon as the bristles appear worn. Most brushes last three to four months. If you continue to use a toothbrush with worn bristles, you can damage your gums.
Use Toothpaste with Fluoride
Any ADA approved toothpaste with fluoride is fine to use. You only need to use a small amount, about the size of a pea. Don’t rinse after brushing; just spit out the excess toothpaste. This ensures some fluoride stays on your teeth. If you’re using a toothpaste formulated to reduce tooth sensitivity, you also want some of the product to remain on your teeth.
Systematic Tooth Brushing
You need to brush for two minutes. Most of us believe we brush that long, but we don’t. Many people spend the most time brushing their front teeth, but you must spend an equal amount of time cleaning each quadrant. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and do the front and back surfaces of teeth, then hold the toothbrush flat and clean the chewing surface of your teeth. You can also give your tongue a gentle brushing.
Most of us brush in the mornings and evenings, but not everyone does. About seven out of 10 people brush twice a day, however, one out of five Americans routinely go several days without brushing. Surprisingly, younger adults, those ages 18 to 24, are the worst at skipping daily teeth brushing. It’s surprising because these people are dating and interviewing for college admission or their first job.
Flossing Your Teeth
You have to floss to reach between your teeth, where your toothbrush cannot reach. You should floss once a day, before or after brushing. You can floss more often if you get food stuck between your teeth after a meal. You want to keep the space between your teeth plaque-free, so you don’t get cavities there. These are more difficult for your dentist to fill and may require more drilling. If you have difficulty using string floss, there are pre-threaded flossers and water powered flossers, like Waterpics.
Using a mouthwash is usually a matter of personal preference, not an essential part of your oral care routine. There are times when your dentist may recommend an over-the-counter or prescription mouthwash, such as an antibacterial one if you’re at risk of developing gum disease. Be sure the OTC mouthwashes you buy have the ADA Seal of Approval to ensure their effectiveness.
Healthy Teeth and Gums are No Accident
If you take good care of your teeth, they will take care of you. You’ll be able to chew well and speak clearly, and you won’t feel self-conscious about smiling if your teeth look clean and healthy. Regular dental visits and professional teeth cleanings also are important to maintaining your smile.