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Brush Up on the Benefits of Brushing

Brushing your teeth correctly twice a day has many advantages. If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed the basics, keep reading. Most of us occasionally fall short in our brushing technique. In fact, a recent study by the American Dental Association and Delta Dental shows that nearly three out of 10 people only brush their teeth once a day. Nearly one-quarter of all adults only floss a few times a week instead of once a day. People get busy, but a good oral care routine takes less than 10 minutes a day, and it can bring far more benefits than disadvantages!

Why Is Brushing Key to Optimal Dental Health?

Brushing two times each day and flossing at least once is essential to keeping your teeth clean and healthy. It helps prevent stains and keeps your breath smelling fresh. Brushing and flossing also removes plaque, which causes decay and gum disease. You’ll experience better dental exams and professional teeth cleanings will be easier as there will be less tartar on your teeth to scrape off. Additionally, your oral health has an impact on your overall health. Gum disease can increase your risk of having a heart attack, getting pneumonia, or developing other serious conditions. We think you’ll agree that good brushing and flossing techniques are essential for overall good health.

Why Is Plaque Buildup Bad for My Teeth?

Plaque, a bacteria containing sticky film, continuously builds up on your teeth. You want to remove it with brushing and flossing on a regular basis, because if you don’t, it will harden. Hardened plaque is called tartar. It is yellowish in color and you can’t get rid of it by yourself. You have to have a professional dental cleaning, so a dentist or dental hygienist can remove it with special instruments.

You want to avoid letting tarter buildup near your gums as it can cause gingivitis, which is gum inflammation. If you see your gums turning red, swelling and bleeding when you brush your teeth, you probably have gingivitis. You want to seek treatment from a dentist as the mildest form of gum disease is reversible.

Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontal disease. While not reversible, periodontal disease is treatable. It is an infection that gets under your gums and can eat away at the support structures that hold your teeth in place. Without treatment, your teeth will loosen and either fall out or need to be pulled. Studies also link periodontal disease to an elevated risk of developing certain heart and lung diseases.

Creating the Most Effective Oral Care Routine

Do you want your brushing skills to be as good as a dentist’s? These suggestions will help you brush as well as any dental professional.

Choosing a Good Toothbrush

You can use a standard or electric toothbrush. Both are equally effective at cleaning your teeth. Always choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and rounded tips; they bend and get into areas that are small. Medium or hard bristles can damage or gums and tooth enamel. Buy a new toothbrush or change the head on your electric every three to four months. Frayed or worn bristles don’t clean effectively.

Your Toothpaste

No matter what type of toothpaste you select, the most important thing to look for is a fluoride toothpaste. You should also look for a toothpaste that has been approved by the ADA. Since there are so many different kinds of toothpastes, it can sometimes be overwhelming to choose the right one. But, any toothpaste with a recommendation from the ADA, should be a good option. In order to reap all the benefits of a fluoride-rich toothpaste, just spit out any extra toothpaste when you’re finished brushing. If you rinse afterwards, the fluoride won’t remain on your teeth.

Flossing

You can floss in the morning or evening, before or after you brush. The most important thing to remember is to do it once a day. Flossing removes plaque from between your teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. If you have trouble holding dental floss, use a water-powered or air-powered flosser. According to a National Institutes of Health study, less than 32 percent of us floss every day.

Proper Toothbrushing

Your should brush your teeth two times a day, in the morning and before going to bed. You can brush more often, but be careful not to brush immediately after every meal. When you eat or drink acid foods or beverages, it changes the PH level in your mouth and temporarily weakens your tooth enamel. Acid foods include healthy citrus fruits and sugary soda. Brushing within an hour after a meal can damage your teeth further. Try chewing sugarless gum with xylitol or rinsing your mouth with water instead.

Brushing for two minutes twice a day is optimal. Set a timer to see if you’re actually brushing for at least two minutes. Many of us don’t brush for as long as we believe. You need to clean the front, back and chewing surface of each tooth in your mouth. Most dentists suggest holding your brush at a 45-degree angle to clean the front of your teeth, holding the brush flat to do the chewing surfaces and using an up and down motion to clean the backs of your teeth.

Mouthwashes

Mouthwashes can help support good oral health. You can use one that only controls bad breath or you can use one your dentist recommends to control plaque, one to control a dry mouth or one that contains fluoride. If you’re looking for a therapeutic mouthwash, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance which indicates the product is effective for its purpose. Your dentist may also recommend a prescription mouthwash.

Brushing Your Way to Better Dental Health

Your oral care routine at home will make a difference in how healthy your teeth and gums are for the rest of your life. It’s especially important now since we’re living longer and need our teeth and gums to remain in good shape for as long as possible. Tooth loss and dentures are not inescapable for people who take care of their teeth and see a dentist regularly.

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