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Posted on: January 25, 2021
Caring For Your Teeth
Answer these questions honestly: Do you really think about what you’re doing when brushing your teeth? Are you mindful of how you’re brushing, making sure to thoroughly brush each tooth? Do you simply pick up your toothbrush and let your mind wander as you go along? Maybe taking care of your oral health has become so routine that you don’t even think about making sure you’re using the proper techniques. Tooth decay and cavities can sneak up on you if you don’t maintain a diligent oral health routine. Revisit the basics of brushing with these tooth-brushing tips, and learn more about the benefits of properly brushing your teeth.
Why Brushing Your Teeth Is Important
Brushing your teeth is an essential part of your oral health routine, and it does much more than just improve the appearance of your smile. Brushing your teeth plays an important role in cavity prevention. The early signs of tooth decay include tooth pain or sensitivity and pain when you bite into something. If tooth decay progresses, it can affect the nerve of the affected tooth, which may require a root canal or even for the tooth to be removed in severe cases.
Gum disease and periodontal disease are other consequences of not brushing your teeth properly, and they can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Fortunately, it’s possible to successfully prevent the most serious oral health problems if you diligently brush and floss your teeth every day.
How Can Plaque Harm Your Teeth?
Dental plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. It’s typically colorless and can create a fuzzy or slippery coating when you run your tongue across your teeth. The bacteria in plaque feed off the sugars found in many of the things we eat and drink, producing acids in the process. These acids attack your tooth enamel, causing it to weaken and break down, leading to the development of cavities.
Brushing and flossing everyday fights against plaque. If plaque remains on your teeth for too long, it hardens into a yellowish substance called tartar. Tartar can form both below and above the gumline and can only be removed by a dental professional since it’s strongly bonded to tooth enamel. Plaque and tartar affect both your teeth and gum tissue. Plaque irritates the gum tissue and can cause unpleasant symptoms such as swollen, red gums that bleed while you brush or floss. These are the earliest signs of gingivitis, but it can be reversed when treated early.
If gingivitis isn’t treated early, it can progress to periodontitis. This is a serious dental problem that can cause the separation of gum tissue from your teeth, forming pockets of bacteria. In advanced cases of periodontitis, the supporting bone structure is damaged, leading to tooth loss.
How Can I Brush My Teeth Properly?
Your dentist can tell you how poor brushing habits can contribute to cavities, gum disease, and periodontitis. While we can all agree that brushing and flossing every day is essential, you must perform them properly to receive the benefits. To make sure that you get the most from your daily oral health routine, follow these tips from the American Dental Association (ADA):
Use the Appropriate Technique
When brushing your teeth, try to aim your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards the gumline. Brush in a circular motion and use short, gentle strokes. Be careful not to brush too hard since this can damage your gums. Carefully brush the outside surfaces of your teeth, ensuring that you reach the back teeth and all chewing surfaces. Make sure you reach the upper front and the lower front teeth as well.
Be sure to brush your tongue so that you can remove any bacteria buildup. Consider rinsing with mouthwash to rinse away any remaining debris.
Brush For at Least Two Minutes
To effectively remove plaque and food particles from your mouth, we recommend brushing for at least two minutes twice a day. Imagine that your mouth contains four sections and spend at least 30 sections brushing each quadrant.
Brushing your teeth shortly after eating is the most effective way to minimize bacteria and acid formation. If you can’t brush after every meal, try to rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash to eliminate food particles.
Use the Right Toothbrush
Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small-to-medium sized head. Hard bristles can irritate your gums, and a large toothbrush will make it difficult to clean all of your teeth and reach all areas of your mouth. Battery-powered and electric toothbrushes are very popular, and they may allow you to remove slightly more plaque and debris in comparison to manual brushing.
We recommend choosing an ADA-approved toothpaste that contains fluoride. Toothpastes that control tartar, whiten your teeth, desensitize your teeth, and improve gum health are just a few examples of the many different types of toothpaste available. Our dentists can help you choose the toothpaste that’s right for you.
Brushing twice a day is important, but it won’t remove all of the plaque and food particles from your teeth and below the gumline. That’s where flossing once a day comes in. Whether you floss in the morning or at night, make sure to floss every day.
Taking Care of Your Toothbrush
After rinsing your toothbrush with water when you’re finished brushing, make sure to store it in an upright position. This helps your toothbrush air dry before the next time you use it, preventing bacteria from growing on your toothbrush and getting into your mouth the next time you brush. In general, try to replace your toothbrush at least every three months or whenever it starts showing signs of wear.
How Our Dentists Can Help You Maintain Healthy Teeth
If you’d like more information about how to properly brush and floss, don’t hesitate to call our office to make an appointment. We can provide you with the guidance needed to improve your oral care habits at home. Schedule your appointment today!