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Posted on: January 12, 2021
Brushing Up on the Benefits of Brushing
If you need a reminder about proper brushing techniques, you’re not alone. Many adults fall short when it comes to toothbrushing, either because they never learned the correct way or they get busy and rush through their oral care routine. Brushing and flossing regularly is a great investment in your oral health and even in your overall health.
Why Brush My Teeth?
Brushing your teeth as recommended will keep them healthy by stopping plaque buildup. Plaque can cause dental diseases that cause painful problems and are expensive and time-consuming to repair. Brushing at least two times daily for two minutes will reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Protecting your mouth from these common, and largely preventable diseases, will protect your smile, which is a major asset.
When your teeth are clean, you feel more confident knowing your breath is fresh. In both professional and social situations, fresh breath is important. You wouldn’t want your colleagues at work or your special someone to shy away from you because of your breath.
What Are the Dangers of Plaque and Tartar Buildup?
Plaque is the sticky film you feel on your teeth that makes you feel like you need to brush them. It contains bacteria and needs to be removed regularly by brushing. When you eat foods with sugar, the bacteria uses the sugar to create an acid, which eats away at tooth enamel and causes cavities. If you miss spots while cleaning your teeth, especially at the gumline, the plaque will harden into tartar. Brushing and flossing become more difficult as tartar collects at the gum line. When this happens, you may develop gingivitis, an early stage of periodontal (gum) disease. You may see gingivitis symptoms such as swollen, red gums and blood when you brush your teeth. Fortunately, gingivitis is curable with better brushing and flossing and a professional teeth cleaning to remove the tartar.
Without treatment, gingivitis can advance to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis is an infection which can damage tissue and bone in your mouth, loosening your teeth. Without treatment, the disease can lead to tooth loss. Symptoms include pus or new spaces between your teeth, or your gums may pull away from your teeth. Periodontitis not only causes tooth loss, rather unfortunately, the infection is linked to much more serious issues such as coronary artery disease, respiratory diseases and other problems. Studies link periodontitis to complications during pregnancy, cognitive impairment and even obesity. For this, and many other reasons, it’s important that you follow proper brushing and flossing habits throughout your life.
Toothbrushing Mistakes We All Make
Even when we have good intentions, many of us make at least a few mistakes. Fixing them could make a real difference so your brushing is more effective.
We Don’t Brush Long Enough or Well Enough
It takes two full minutes to brush every surface of every tooth. Set a timer for two minutes and see if you’re doing a thorough job. Use a circular motion while brushing the front of your teeth, not back-and-forth strokes. You can do a back and forth motion on the chewing surfaces and up and down strokes for the back teeth. Every tooth needs equal attention, unless there are some teeth you’re not interested in keeping, which shouldn’t be the case!
We Use the Wrong Toothbrush
A medium or hard toothbrush will clean better, right? Wrong, you need to use a soft bristle toothbrush with rounded tips that can bend and reach in cracks. The size of the head and the length of the handle are important too. You need to reach all your teeth easily. Using an old, frayed brush is also a mistake. Toothbrushes only last three or four mouths, then you have to replace them. Frayed, damaged bristles don’t get your teeth clean. If you buy a toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance on it and it frays in a few weeks, you’re brushing to hard.
Some of us also use toothbrushes on the counter or in the medicine cabinet. They can’t dry completely between uses this way. Brushes need to stand upright and uncovered while not in use so they stay clean and free of bacteria.
Rinsing Away Fluoride Toothpaste
When you brush, you only need a small amount of toothpaste. When you’re done, spit out any extra toothpaste, but don’t rinse. If you do, you lose the fluoride protection left on your teeth. The same goes for whitening toothpastes.
You are supposed to floss daily to remove plaque where your toothbrush can’t reach. According to a study by the American Dental Association and Waterpik, only 16 percent of Americans floss daily. Another 20 percent say they floss only when they have something stuck in their teeth. Almost 45 percent admit they exaggerate the number of times they floss when their dentist asks them about it.
Substituting a Mouthrinse for Brushing
When you’re in a real hurry, it’s tempting to take a swish of mouthwash to freshen your breath. Mouthrinses are a short-term solution for bad breath. They don’t treat the underlying cause, which is usually bacteria in plaque. Only brushing and flossing can remove plaque. Your dentist may suggest a mouthwash with therapeutic benefits, such as reducing plaque, based on your situation.
Buy toothbrushes, toothpastes and mouthrinses with the American Dental Association Seal of Approval on them to ensure the product is effective and safe. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, you can find many brands at all price points with the seal.
Healthy Teeth and Gums Through Better Brushing
You should give your teeth the best care possible since they do so much for you. Your teeth allow you to chew your favorite foods and talk clearly to others. Your teeth also provide you with an attractive smile and give your face its shape. Imagine life without them and you’ll see why taking care of them is so important.
If you have any questions beyond the information we’ve provided, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our profession is keeping teeth healthy and strong, something we’ve been doing for a long time. We’d be delighted to work with you to ensure that you have the resources and information you need to keep your teeth in the best shape possible.