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Posted on: January 12, 2021
Brushing Up on the Benefits of Brushing
Sure, you know how to brush your teeth. You’ve been brushing them for decades; how could you forget when you do it every day? If you have excellent brushing habits, good for you. If you tend to rush sometimes, like when you’re running late for work, please consider the long-term repercussions of not thoroughly brushing your teeth. Taking an extra few minutes twice a day to brush and floss thoroughly can help keep your teeth and gums healthy, saving you time and money at the dentist’s office.
What Can Brushing Twice Daily Prevent?
Brushing two times a day and flossing daily are important if you want to keep your mouth free from unpleasant breath, cavities and gum disease. If you practice good oral hygiene, you are already doing your part to keep your mouth healthy. Your dentist and dental hygienist will do their part when you go see them for regular six-month checkups and teeth cleanings. Your dentist can prevent minor problems from becoming major problems and your dental hygienist can offer oral hygiene instruction, point out any spots you are missing, and recommend products to make your job easier.
Is Dental Plaque a Problem?
Plaque buildup is a problem, even though some plaque is unavoidable. Plaque is a film of bacterial which builds up on your teeth naturally from what you eat and drink. Plaque can make your teeth look dirty and feel sticky. It also makes your breath smell bad and will cause cavities. The acid plaque produces can eat away at your tooth enamel, causing decay. You must remove plaque twice a day by brushing to keep it from hardening to a point where you can’t remove it.
Hardened plaque is known as tartar. Only a dental professional can remove tarter using special instruments. Tarter can buildup at the gumline, irritating your gums and causing a mild form of gum disease known as gingivitis. If you develop gingivitis, your gums will turn from a healthy pink to a bright red. They will swell and bleed when you brush.
Gingivitis is curable, but if you don’t treat it, it may turn into periodontal disease. Unchecked, periodontitis is a serious problem which can cause gum recession, a loss in jawbone density and tooth loss. If this isn’t bad enough, periodontitis is linked to health problems outside the mouth, including heart disease and pneumonia as it is an infection that can spread throughout your body. Dentists can stop periodontal disease’s progression, but there is no cure.
What Are Good Brushing and Flossing Techniques?
You must brush your teeth for a full two minutes at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. Here are some tips to get the most out of your routine:
Start with a Good Toothbrush
Your toothbrush is what gets your mouth clean. Toothpaste has cleansing agents, but its primary job is fluoride protection. You need a toothbrush with soft, rounded bristles. Replace your current toothbrush every three to four months; frayed or worn toothbrushes don’t clean teeth well. When you’re done, place your toothbrush in a toothbrush holder. It needs to remain upright to dry and should not be touching any other toothbrush in the holder in order to prevent the spread of bacteria.
Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Any fluoride toothpaste is fine. Your dentist may recommend a toothpaste for sensitive teeth or one that whitens. When you’re done brushing, spit out any extra toothpaste, but don’t rinse your mouth with water. Some toothpaste must remain on your teeth for you to get the full benefits of fluoride toothpaste.
Brush with a Circular Motion
Start out with your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle pointed toward your gums. Use a circular motion to brush the front and back of your teeth. Use up and down strokes on your back teeth, and then use a back and forth motion to clean the chewing surfaces of your teeth. You should help children under the age of seven with the procedure, until you are sure they can do it properly each time.
Floss Your Teeth
You need to floss at least once a day to remove plaque from between your teeth. Start with about 18 inches of floss and leave about an inch to work with. Wind the remaining floss around each of your middle fingers. Slide the floss between each tooth using your thumb and index finger and unravel clean floss for each tooth. Rinse when finished. You can use a Waterpic or similar device if you don’t have the ability to floss because of arthritis or a manual dexterity problem. Flossing before brushing is the best way to remove plaque from your mouth according to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology. You can rinse the plaque and food debris from your mouth before brushing, so you don’t have to rinse after brushing.
Mouthwash is optional unless your dentist recommends one to treat a specific problem. If he or she does, and you can choose an over-the-counter brand, look for the American Dental Association’s ADA Seal of Acceptance, so you know the product is both effective and safe to use. Remember, many mouthwashes contain alcohol. If you’re using a mouthwash to freshen your breath and it has alcohol in it, it can dry out your mouth. A dry mouth is a common cause of bad breath, so be sure to ask your dentist if you have any concerns.
A healthy diet will keep your teeth and gums healthy too. Avoid refined sugars and acidic foods, like soda, even sugar-free soda, to reduce plaque buildup. A diet rich in nutrients and vitamins will help build strong teeth and help your body resist infections, like gum disease.
Do What’s Best for Your Smile: Brush and Floss Often
You have options when it comes to caring for your smile. You can haphazardly take care of your teeth and spend a fortune on restorative work, like crowns and implants. Your other option is to brush and floss properly and see your dentist regularly. While you can’t prevent all dental issues, many are avoidable. Take care of your teeth and you’ll find your smile will stay healthy and attractive for a long time.