How Much Should You Brush Your Teeth?
Most dental professionals recommend you brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. But when to brush your teeth is just as important as how often you brush. The best time to brush is in the morning and before bed to remove plaque.
Plaque is a sticky white film that contains bacteria. The bacteria in plaque use sugar to release acid that breaks down tooth enamel. Since plaque attaches to the tooth, the bacterial acid has direct access and will eventually break through the enamel to create a cavity.
How often you brush your teeth is important because the soft, sticky plaque turns into hardened tartar if it’s not removed promptly. Once the plaque turns to tartar, it can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist.
When to Brush Your Teeth
In addition to morning and evening brushing, there are other factors that affect your tooth brushing schedule. If you snack throughout the day, you should add a mid-day brushing to your routine.
Acidic foods or drinks such as lemons, pickles, tomatoes, alcohol and coffee weaken the enamel. Immediate brushing after these foods can remove the weakened enamel. It’s best to just do a good rinse with water and brush later.
Good Teeth Brushing Habits
Good teeth brushing habits, along with correct flossing technique and regular dental checkups, will keep your smile happy and healthy. Here are some tips:
- Brush Twice, Floss Once. A minimal routine of brushing twice a day and flossing once at night is the standard recommendation. If you are prone to gum issues, have specific health concerns or take certain medications, your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend a customized routine for you.
- Limit Acid and Sugar. By limiting acidic and sugary food and drinks, you will help preserve the strength of the protective enamel on your teeth. When you do eat or drink these things, rinse immediately afterward.
- Replace Your Brush. Replace your toothbrush every three months and always buy a soft-bristle toothbrush. By the three-months mark, the bristles lose effectiveness. This is the same recommendation for an electric toothbrush head.
- Time It. Two minutes is the recommended amount of time it should take you to thoroughly clean your teeth. Most people, especially children, don’t brush for a full two minutes. Setting a timer is the best way to be sure.
- Don’t Scrub. Scrubbing your teeth in a back-and-forth motion causes gum recession and sensitivity. Since the plaque you are removing has the consistency of pudding, scrubbing is not necessary. Angle your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward your gum line and brush in small circles. If you have an electric toothbrush, just position the brush at the recommended angle and hold it there.
- See Your Dentist Every Six Months. Your dentist or dental hygienists can make valuable suggestions on managing your individual dental health situation. Visiting a minimum of every six months can catch issues when they are minor, assess your home care to make adjustments and help you maintain a gorgeous, healthy smile for a lifetime.
Are you due for a visit to Nirvana Dental? Call today to make an appointment.