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How Often Should You Brush Your Teeth?

How Often Should You Brush Your Teeth?

How often do you really need to brush your teeth? Many people think that they brush their teeth frequently and well enough, but the reality is that many dental problems arise due to improper brushing.

How Often Should You Brush Your Teeth?

The Importance of Brushing Your Teeth At Least Twice A Day

Most of us are taught to brush our teeth regularly from a young age. Brushing removes the clear, sticky biofilm called plaque that continually forms on our teeth during the day and is responsible for decay and gum disease. However, good habits can easily fall by the wayside, and it’s all too easy to think that brushing our teeth less frequently isn’t doing us any harm. Let’s discover the truth about how often you should brush your teeth, tips for successful brushing and what happens if you stop taking care of your teeth.

How Many Times a Day Should You Brush Your Teeth?

The American Dental Association recommends that people brush their teeth at least twice each day. Ideally, this should be after breakfast to ensure that our teeth are as clean as possible before we leave the house for the day. We should do it again just before going to bed. This removes all plaque that may have accumulated during the day which will help prevent damage caused to the teeth and gums overnight.

However, we know that life can get busy and sometimes our routine doesn’t go to plan. In these instances, it’s still better to make sure you brush twice that day — even if it isn’t at the recommended times.

Tips for Brushing Your Teeth

There’s little point in brushing your teeth if you aren’t going to do it effectively. Some people don’t focus on their method when they are brushing their teeth. They are often distracted by things like their cell phones  or family members. However, if you don’t pay attention, you may not be brushing as well as you could. This will put you at greater risk for developing dental problems that could otherwise be avoided. 

To help make sure that you get the best from your oral hygiene routine, we’ve put together some important tips for brushing your teeth. 

Choosing a Toothbrush

Either a manual or electric toothbrushes can be used to clean your teeth effectively. However, some people believe that the rapid oscillations of powered toothbrushes make them more efficient at cleaning teeth. Electric toothbrushes can also be particularly valuable for people who have physical limitations that make it hard for them to use a manual toothbrush. Whichever you prefer, opt for one with soft bristles to avoid damaging your gums and a small head to make it easier to maneuver inside your mouth.

Selecting Toothpaste 

Not all toothpastes are created equal. So, it’s important to pick one that will clean your teeth and protect your oral health. Be sure to choose a toothpaste containing fluoride. The FDI World Dental Federation recognizes that fluoride is the only element that can strengthen teeth against plaque acids, remineralizing your teeth and reducing your risk of developing decay. 

Practicing Your Technique

Various techniques can be used to brush teeth effectively. The most common is to place the toothbrush against the gum line at a 45-degree angle and brush gently and methodically across all faces of the teeth. However, your dentist should be only too happy to review your brushing technique and make recommendations to improve it, where required. Nevertheless, you should aim to brush for at least two minutes each time.

Replacing Your Toothbrush Regularly

Advice from the American Dental Association states that people should replace their toothbrush — or in the case of an electric toothbrush, the toothbrush head — every three to four months. If you notice the bristles becoming matted or frayed, change it at this time. 

Can You Brush Your Teeth Too Much?

One of the biggest misconceptions about brushing your teeth is that the more you do it and the harder you brush, the cleaner and healthier your teeth will be. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Brushing too often or too hard can actually be damaging to both your teeth and gums. A problem that can arise is dental abrasion, which occurs when the enamel gets worn away, leading to sensitivity and gum recession. This is where the gums pull away from the teeth, exposing the vulnerable root and increasing the risk of cavities and gum disease.  

What Happens If You Don’t Brush Your Teeth?

According to literature from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the three oral conditions that most affect overall health and quality of life are cavities, severe gum disease and severe tooth loss. All of these can occur as a result of not brushing your teeth. Although gum disease symptoms may seem fairly mild, they can have serious consequences for our health. 

A report by Harvard Medical School also describes the link between gum disease and cardiovascular health and how people with gum disease are two to three times more at risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other serious cardiovascular events. The same report also goes on to state that, “daily toothbrushing and flossing can prevent and even reverse an early stage of gum disease.” 

Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is the best way to preserve your oral health, your teeth and your smile. If you are concerned about your oral health, or if you would like to schedule an appointment to get further advice on brushing your teeth, schedule an appointment at West Coast Dental today.

Sources

American Dental Association – Oral Health Topics

FDI World Dental Federation – “Good oral health habits must start at a young age,” says Prof. Shlomo P. Zusman, FDI dental public health expert

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Oral Health Fast Facts

Harvard Medical School – Gum disease and heart disease: The common thread

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