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Brush Up on the Benefits of Brushing

When you brush and floss every day, you fall into a routine. Hopefully, you learned good habits when you were young, but many of us didn’t or we slacked off if we did. A refresher course can’t hurt, just to make sure you’re maximizing your oral care routine. Healthy teeth and gums are important; they help you eat the foods you love and they make your smile attractive.

How Important Is Teeth Brushing?

Teeth brushing is important for several reasons. First, your breath will smell fresh and clean. Can you imagine going to work with morning breath because you didn’t brush your teeth? Brushing twice a day will also help prevent plaque buildup, which will keep cavities and gum disease at bay. Studies link advanced gum disease to an increased risk of developing pneumonia and heart disease. It can also make rheumatoid arthritis more painful and make it harder for diabetics to control their blood sugar.

Why Is Dental Plaque Bad for My Teeth?

A sticky film of bacteria builds up in everyone’s mouth. It’s called plaque. If not removed with regular brushing and flossing, plaque will cause cavities. It will also harden if left on too long. When plaque hardens, it turns into a substance called tartar. Tarter often forms at the gum line where it’s impossible to remove without a professional teeth cleaning.

Tartar can irritate and inflame your gums. This is called gingivitis and it’s the mildest form of gum disease. Gingivitis can make your gums red and puffy and they can bleed when you brush or floss. Fortunately, gingivitis is reversible with treatment, usually a professional teeth cleaning and better brushing habits. If gingivitis isn’t treatment, it may progress to periodontal disease, a more advanced form of gum disease. A dentist can treat periodontal disease, but he or she can’t cure it. Treatment is essential to prevent eventual tooth loss.

What’s the Correct Way to Brush My Teeth?

The ADA offers numerous recommendations, including:

Finding the Best Toothpaste

There are hundreds of toothpaste brands to choose from. Some promise cavity protection, others are made for sensitive teeth. As long as you choose a toothpaste with fluoride with the ADA Seal of Approval, you can use whatever brand you prefer. The important thing is to spit out the extra toothpaste after brushing. Don’t rinse; you want the fluoride to remain on your teeth.

Selecting a Toothbrush

You can use a manual or electric toothbrush. Choose one with a handle that is long enough for you to reach your back teeth. Soft, rounded bristles of varying heights clean teeth the best. The soft bristles can bend and reach into small spaces. Rinse your toothbrush after using it and store it upright and uncovered so it dries completely. Otherwise, you can introduce more bacteria into your mouth the next time you use it. Replace it every three or four months or whenever it starts to look worn or frayed.

A Good Brushing Technique

Brush your teeth twice a day, in the morning and the evening. Some people brush after every meal. Surprisingly, it’s not a good idea to brush immediately after every meal. The reason is that many foods and drinks are highly acidic. Your tooth enamel, which is very hard, will weaken as the PH level changes. Vigorous brushing could damage it in this state. You are better off rinsing your mouth with water after having sugary foods or drinks or chewing sugarless gum. Wait an hour before you brush.

Dentists and dental hygienists brush their teeth methodically. They divide their mouth into four parts; the upper left, upper right, bottom left and bottom right. They spend about thirty seconds on each part, taking two minutes to clean all surfaces, including the front, back and chewing surface of each tooth using a circular motion. Brushing the tongue will also freshen your breath and make your mouth feel cleaner.

Flossing

Flossing is important because it cleans plaque and food particles stuck in the space between your teeth. It doesn’t matter what type of floss you use, although people with very little space between their teeth may find waxed floss easier to use. If you have wide gaps between your teeth, dental tape might be easier for you to use. If you have braces on your teeth, arthritis or other impairment that makes it more difficult to use threaded floss, using a Waterpik or other water flosser is a good option.

Mouthrinses

You can use a mouthrinse after brushing to freshen your breath. There are also mouthrinses which can help fight plaque buildup or whiten your teeth. If you are at risk of developing gum disease, your dentist may recommend an antibacterial mouthrinse. If you decide to use one, look for a mouthrinse with the ADA Seal of Acceptance on it, so you can be sure it will work as promised.

One myth is that an antibacterial mouthwash will remove plaque from inside your mouth. It can help, but it cannot replace brushing and flossing. No matter how busy you get, you can’t just swish a mouthwash around your mouth and call it a day.

Brushing Is Just One Part of Preventative Dental Care

Brushing your teeth for two minutes a day twice a day is one of the best things you can do for your dental health. Getting a dental exam every six months, along with a professional cleaning, is also an important preventative measure. Your dentist or dental hygienist can point out any areas you may be missing during your oral care routine at home. They may also be able to suggest products you can use to make brushing or flossing easier and more effective.

Proper brushing and flossing are the keys to maintaining excellent oral health, which goes a long way in ensuring you have overall good health. If you need o find a dentist that can help you get your teeth into top shape or help you address any ongoing issues, we’d be delighted to help. If you already have a dentist, make sure you continue to visit them regularly!

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