The old saying goes, brush in the morning to keep your friends and brush at night to keep your teeth, but if that’s all your doing for oral hygiene you are leaving a lot of room for improvement. We all want to keep our teeth healthy and strong and we want our teeth to last our entire lifetime. Here are some simple steps to make sure you’re incorporating into your hygiene regimen. Besides brushing, here’s what you need to know.
How Often Do You Brush?
Millions of bacteria will grow in your mouth over a 24 hour period. after 24 hours the bacteria in your mouth will have begun to form a dense layer, forming what is referred to as plaque. Plaque is the bacterial colonies that can coat tooth surfaces and form calculus and tartar, causing decay and serious periodontal infection. If you are brushing your teeth only one time per day it’s not enough to prevent plaque build up. Dentist recommend brushing after every meal but if you cannot do that, the consensus is to brush at least two times per day.
Watch Out Though
Is there such a thing as brushing your teeth too often? If brushing three times per day is a good idea then four or five times must be better right? That’s wrong. In this case there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Excessive brushing can wear away tooth enamel and irritate delicate gum tissue, which can lead to inflammation or infection. If you are prone to eating many small snacks or more than three times in a day, try chewing sugarless gum after you eat. When you chew gum it increases the saliva in your mouth, flushes out bacteria and loose food particles and helps to keep the mouth clean in between brushing.
A perfect right angle is 90 degrees but the perfect angle for brushing teeth is exactly 45 degrees, angled towards the gum line. Angling toothbrush bristles towards the gum line will increase the amount of detritus, bacteria and plaque that is dislodged and removed at the gum line and below. Most adults are more prone to cavities below the gum line or infection at or below the gums, this technique makes the most of your brushing efforts and is still very gentle to delicate gum tissue.
Not a Straight Line From Start to Finish
Think of brushing teeth like polishing fine silver or delicate furniture. Using a sawing motion would not be the best way to clean and shine up such prized possessions. Over time a straight back-and-forth motion would leave wear patterns and it is the same with the enamel in your teeth. Sawing motions are abrasive, instead use a circular motion, just as you do on the silverware or the antique hutch and you will ensure that your teeth and your antiques are their sparkliest.
Toothbrushes Not Sandpaper
While we are talking about wearing down enamel let’s talk about bristles. You would never want sandpaper in your mouth. Pushing too aggressively, brushing too briskly and using a brush with really stiff bristles will wear teeth and inflame gums needlessly. Always use a soft or extra soft toothbrush because, while it’s true, you can partially remineralize your existing enamel, you cannot build it back up if you brush it all away.
Last But Not Least
Flossing. We’ve said it before (and we will probably say it again). Flossing is necessary to remove bacteria and food that brushing teeth alone cannot reach. Don’t skip flossing, but remember you only need to floss once a day to reap the benefits. The benefits are that you get to keep your own teeth for longer.
One last secret, there is significant evidence that some mouthwashes or rinses can significantly help reduce bacterial colonies that grow between brushing. This can help reverse or stop periodontal disease, eradicate chronic bad breath and help keep your teeth whiter and healthier between dental cleanings. If you’re looking for the right rinse for you, need to catch up on cleanings or an exam, give us a call today!