It may seem like a simple task; brushing your teeth is, after all, just a part of the daily routine. However, most people never seem to question whether or not they are brushing effectively. In a study conducted by Delta Dental, nearly 30 percent of Americans stated that they are not brushing their teeth twice per day, and 23 percent said they typically skip two to three days between brushing at all! To put the best practices for brushing your teeth into your daily routine, we need to establish why it is crucial in the first place.
The Health of Your Entire Body Starts in Your Mouth
Your mouth is the main gateway to your immune system. When bacteria enter, they can get stuck in between your teeth and gums. While a toothbrush won’t thwart every virus that enters your mouth, daily brushing and flossing can eliminate many illness-causing bacteria that would otherwise end up in your gut. In addition, when you skip your brushing routine, bacteria that have settled on the surface of your teeth will begin to eat away your enamel, leading to cavities and tooth decay. Tooth decay can trigger severe gum infection and require antibiotics, and if not treated, can cause the infection to spread throughout the entire body. In extreme cases, untreated infections can cause death. So yes, brushing your teeth is that serious.
Brushing the Right Way
You may be thinking, “Well, I brush every day, so I should have good dental health.” While you might be leaps and bounds ahead of the 30 percent of people who aren’t brushing twice daily, the best way to ensure a healthy mouth is to practice the proper technique.
- Choose the right toothbrush and toothpaste. The American Dental Association has a list of dental products that have earned the ‘Seal of Acceptance.‘ Independent researchers evaluate these products to ensure safety and efficacy. These items typically have much higher standards than are required by law. If you go to a drugstore for a new toothbrush, choose a soft-bristled one with the ADA seal.
- Brush with purpose. Now that you have the right tools, it is time to learn the technique. Brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle and begin at the gumline. Make sure to contact the surface of every tooth in your mouth. You can also brush in small circles for a total of two minutes. Do not press too hard, as this can damage your enamel and shorten the life of your toothbrush.
- Follow up. In addition to brushing correctly and for the recommended length of time, following up your brushing routine with flossing will get other bacteria out of your mouth from places that a toothbrush could not reach.
- Throw it out. Dentists recommend getting a new toothbrush every three to four months. Over time, your toothbrush will become frayed and jagged. Old toothbrushes can cause damage to your teeth due to the blunted tips and frayed bristles that occur over time. If you have recently recovered from a virus, throwing away your toothbrush for a new one is a good rule for optimal health.
Continue with Regular Dental Maintenance
Even if you brush for the recommended amount of time each day and utilize all of the best practices for brushing your teeth, it is still essential to see a dentist at least twice per year. We would be happy to schedule you for an appointment and make sure you have the healthiest smile you can have. Our dental providers will also customize a plan that is specific to your dental needs.
We look forward to serving you!