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Posted on: January 25, 2021
The Benefits of Brushing
You might be wondering why you need to refine your brushing and flossing skills because you’ve probably been brushing and flossing your teeth for most of your life. What you might not realize is that after brushing and flossing your teeth for so long it’s become a routine habit, and you might not be taking care of your oral health as well as you should. That’s when brushing up on the basics of maintaining your oral health at home comes in handy. With these tips from our experienced dentists, you can maintain a beautiful smile at home.
Why Is Brushing Your Teeth Important?
Preventing stains and keeping your breath fresh aren’t the only reasons why you should brush your teeth every day. Practicing good oral hygiene can also help prevent you from developing serious diseases, including gum disease and periodontitis. If left untreated, these diseases can lead to tooth loss and may also increase your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, pneumonia, or stroke. Although seeing your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings can prevent gum problems from becoming serious, daily brushing and flossing are the easiest and most effective ways to prevent gum disease and periodontitis.
What Is Plaque?
Plaque is a sticky substance that develops on your teeth. It’s a colorless material that contains bacteria. When plaque combines with the sugars and starches found in food, it produces acids that attack tooth enamel. Over time, your tooth enamel can break down, which can lead to cavities.
If plaque isn’t removed every day by brushing and flossing, it can harden into a substance called tartar, which can only be safely removed by your dental hygienist. The combination of tartar, plaque, and bacteria is very irritating to your gum tissue and causes inflammation. This can cause gingivitis, which can cause red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush or floss. Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease and can be reversed when treated early.
If gingivitis isn’t treated early, it can progress to periodontitis. This advanced form of gum disease causes the gum tissue and bone that supports your teeth to break down, forming pockets containing bacteria. Over time, your gums may start to recede and pull back from your teeth. In advanced cases, periodontitis destroys the supporting bone structure, which can lead to tooth loss.
What Are Some Tips for Proper Brushing Technique?
Our dentists will be quick to tell you how diligently and consistently brushing your teeth can prevent tooth decay and the development of gum disease. Although while you may understand that brushing and flossing daily is important, these habits have to be performed properly to benefit from them. Follow these techniques from the American Dental Association (ADA) to make sure that you get the most from your daily dental routine:
Choose the Right Toothbrush
A toothbrush with soft bristles is the best choice. It’s important that the bristles are soft enough to not damage your teeth and gum tissue but still be firm enough to gently remove plaque from your teeth and gumline. The toothbrush should also be the right size for the shape of your mouth and allow you to reach all of your teeth. You might also consider using a battery-powered or electric toothbrush, which may be more effective at removing plaque and reducing the risk of gingivitis in comparison to a manual brush.
Use the Proper Brushing Technique
Hold your toothbrush at about a 45-degree angle and gently brush your teeth using short strokes in a back-and-forth motion. Tilt the brush vertically to clean the inside surfaces of your teeth and use gentle up and down strokes. Make sure you apply gentle pressure to avoid hurting your gums. Ensure that you brush the surfaces of all of your teeth, even if your teeth are sensitive.
If you experience discomfort while brushing, make an appointment to see our dentist. To remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh, don’t forget to brush your tongue. To further reduce bacteria and food particles after brushing, rinse your mouth with mouthwash afterwards.
Our dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. This length of time ensures that you’re removing food particles and bacteria from all parts of your mouth, even hard-to-reach areas. It might be helpful to divide your mouth into four sections and focus on brushing the surface of each tooth in that section for at least 30 seconds.
If you can, try to brush your teeth after eating to reduce bacteria and plaque that can lead to tooth decay. If you’re unable to brush after every meal, try to rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after eating.
Choose the Right Toothpaste
Tartar control, whitening, and varieties for sensitive teeth are just a few examples of the many types of toothpaste available. We recommend choosing a variety that has been approved by the ADA, or ask your dentist about which is the right toothpaste for you.
It’s possible for bacteria to linger between your teeth even after brushing. By flossing between your teeth once a day, you can remove any plaque or food particles that might remain.
Take Care of Your Toothbrush
After brushing, use water to rinse your toothbrush and store it in an upright position to make sure that it has a chance to dry out between each use. To prevent the growth of bacteria, avoid storing your toothbrush in a closed container. Replace your toothbrush at least every three months or sooner if the bristles become frayed.
How Can Your Dentist Help You Maintain Healthy Teeth and Gums?
No matter how well you brush your teeth, seeing your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and exams is also an important part of maintaining excellent oral health. Make sure to schedule a dental visit every six months or sooner if recommended by your dentist. Your dental hygienist or dentist can also demonstrate the proper techniques for brushing and flossing if you have any questions.