Be honest – brushing your teeth has probably become second nature to you by now. The important thing to remember is that doing it right is a major factor when it comes to excellent oral health, and it will help you avoid gum disease and cavities. Even more important – have you ever wondered if you’ve been brushing enough? The American Dental Association advises brushing your teeth at a minimum of twice a day and a number of dental professionals believe that three times a day is best.
Brushing your teeth removes food and plaque, a sticky, bacteria loaded film that develops on the teeth. After eating a snack or meal that contains sugar, bacteria typically release acids that attack the enamel on your teeth. Repetitive attacks will eventually break down tooth enamel which leads to cavities. If the plaque isn’t removed, it can potentially harden into tartar, which makes it difficult to keep teeth clean and bacteria free.
When deciding on when to brush your teeth, it’s important to consider your diet as well. If you’ve just consumed an acidic meal or drink (like soda/citrus juices), refrain from brushing your teeth for a minimum of 30 minutes. These types of acids deteriorate tooth enamel, and brushing too soon after consuming them can remove the enamel.
Along with brushing your teeth, the American Dental Association (AD) recommends that you do the following:
- Floss every day
- Follow a healthy diet plan and limit snacks between meals
- Change out your toothbrush every 2 to 4 months, sooner if the toothbrush bristles have frayed
- Arrange regular checkups with your dentist
The Best Toothbrush to Use
To determine the best toothbrush you need to consider the size of your mouth. If you’re straining to open your mouth wide enough to get the brush in, itís most likely too big. Your toothbrush should feel good in your hand and not awkward in your mouth so that you’ll use it more often. It’s also important to consider the bristles. Toothbrush bristles that are too stiff will hurt your gums, which you definitely want to avoid. The ADA recommends using a soft toothbrush. When it comes to whether to use a manual or electric toothbrush, it really comes down to personal preference. It’s more about the brusher than the brush. That said, electric toothbrushes can make it a lot easier to do a good job, particularly if you have arthritis or other similar afflictions. In addition, with electric brushes, the bristles do most of the work and you just guide the toothbrush
How Long to Brush Your Teeth
You should brush your teeth for at least 2 to 3 minutes. As you brush, divide the area you’re cleaning into four sections, spending about 30 second on each section. A number of electric toothbrushes have handy built-in timers and some even keep track of your brushing patterns by synchronizing to your smartphone. To make the time go faster, watch TV while you brush or listen to one or two of your favorite tunes. Also, it’s okay to use a lighter touch, so be gentle. It actually doesn’t take a lot of force to remove plaque.