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Posted on: January 25, 2021
The Basics of Tooth Brushing
Does your mind wander when you brush your teeth, or do you actively think about the movements you’re making as you brush? To make sure you’re brushing properly, we hope that you’re mindful of what you’re doing and making an effort to brush carefully. After all, knowing the proper techniques can make the difference when it comes to your oral health.
Reasons to Brush Your Teeth
Preventing unsightly stains and having fresh breath aren’t the only reasons why you should brush your teeth each day. Doing so is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from developing a variety of dental problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or periodontal disease. If you’re experiencing pain when you bite down, tooth pain, or tooth sensitivity, you might already have a cavity. If tooth decay advances, it can affect the nerve of the tooth. When this happens, a root canal is usually needed to save the tooth.
If you aren’t brushing and flossing correctly, you’re also at risk of developing gum disease and periodontal disease. Both of these dental problems are linked to some serious health concerns, including increasing your risk of suffering a stroke, having a heart attack, or developing diabetes. Periodontal disease can cause tooth loss if not diagnosed and treated early. Fortunately, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing cavities, gum disease, or periodontal disease if you commit to brushing and flossing properly.
How Can Plaque Harm Your Teeth?
You’ve probably already heard of plaque; it’s the sticky film that’s always forming on your teeth. Plaque contains bacteria, and although it’s usually colorless, you might notice a pale yellow color on your teeth.
Plaque forms on your teeth when you consume foods containing starch and sugar. The bacteria found in your mouth thrive on these sugars and starches, producing acids as a result. Over time, these acids can destroy your tooth enamel, causing tooth decay. Diligently brushing and flossing every day can remove tartar and reduce your risk of developing cavities.
Plaque quickly hardens into a substance called tartar, also called calculus, if it’s not removed every day. Tartar is yellow in color and is quite difficult to remove. In fact, tartar can only be removed by your dental hygienist or dentist. The longer tartar and plaque stay on your teeth, the more likely they are to irritate your gum tissue. This causes an inflammatory response that creates red, swollen gums. Your teeth may also bleed when you brush and floss. These are the earliest symptoms of gingivitis, which can be treated and reversed with early treatment.
If gingivitis isn’t treated right away, it can progress to a serious infection called periodontitis. Periodontitis can cause your gums to separate from your teeth, forming pockets of bacteria. If you have advanced periodontitis, you’re at risk of tooth loss.
Get the Facts on Tooth Brushing
Great oral health begins with knowing how to properly brush and floss. Learning the correct brushing techniques and performing them diligently is crucial to the health of your mouth and the appearance of your smile. These tips from the American Dental Association (ADA) and our dentists will put you on the path towards better oral health.
How to Brush Your Teeth Correctly
Tilt your toothbrush at about a 45-degree angle and use short strokes while brushing in a circular direction. Angle the bristles against the gumline and gently brush the outside, inside, and chewing surfaces of your teeth. Apply gentle pressure, but don’t brush too hard because it will irritate your gum tissue. To eliminate bacteria buildup, don’t forget to brush the surface of your tongue. Rinsing with mouthwash can remove any remaining debris or food particles.
Brush Your Teeth Every Day
Our dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day. Brushing in the morning and evening works well for removing plaque and bacteria. You should always brush your teeth for at least two minutes each time you brush. If possible, try to brush your teeth shortly after eating a meal. This gives you the best chance to eliminate food particles and bacteria before they can damage your tooth enamel. If you can’t brush after a meal, try rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash.
A Soft-Bristled Toothbrush Is Best
Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush when brushing, particularly a toothbrush that has angled or multi-layer bristles. This type of toothbrush provides an excellent clean without harming your gum tissue or teeth. A toothbrush with stiff bristles might be too rough for your gums and tooth enamel and may cause damage. Try to find a toothbrush that fits your mouth comfortably and allows you to brush your entire mouth easily. For most people, this includes a toothbrush with a small-to-medium head.
What to Look for in Toothpaste
An ADA-approved toothpaste that contains fluoride is an ideal choice for most people. Try to find a toothpaste that best meets your needs. Consider a toothpaste that provides sensitivity protection if you have sensitive teeth. If you’re having difficulty finding a toothpaste, ask your dentist about which is the right toothpaste for you.
Caring for Your Toothbrush
Rinse your toothbrush with water every time you’re done brushing. This helps remove any remaining food particles and bacteria. Store your toothbrush standing upright so it can air dry. Replace your toothbrush at least every three months or whenever you notice frayed bristles or signs of wear.
Floss Every Day
To remove food particles and plaque from your teeth, flossing once a day must be a priority.
See Your Dentist
Our dental professionals want to help you get into a healthy routine that’s focused on improving your teeth and gums. If you have any questions about our suggestions for brushing, please get in touch with us right away to make an appointment. Don’t forget that receiving dental cleanings twice a year is also an important part of your oral health routine. Call us today!