What’s the big deal about not brushing enough?
We know the scenario. It’s late, and you’re tired, so you shuffle off to the bathroom to start your nightly routine. You put the toothpaste on the brush, scrub up and down, left and right, then you spit. Once done you’re pretty sure that you’re brushing your teeth enough, right?
Wrong. Not brushing your teeth for a sufficient amount of time leaves nasty dental biofilm on the surface of your teeth whether you notice it or not. Most dentists agree that to get a thorough clean a person should brush their teeth for at least 2 minutes, twice a day. Additionally, a gentle flossing should follow at least one of those brushings a day. If you’re not taking the time to brush adequately and enough, you are putting your oral health at risk.
What are the benefits of brushing your teeth?
Besides preventing bad breath, brushing your teeth has numerous benefits for both your health and overall lifestyle. Regular maintenance means you save money on pricey (and painful!) dental procedures. Brushing your teeth lowers the risk of gum disease, heart disease, and stroke. Also, studies show good oral hygiene helps prevent other ailments including upper respiratory issues. Finally, regularly brushing your teeth gives you that healthy, bright smile you want. You’ve got to look your best!
What are the disadvantages of not brushing often enough?
Signs of gum disease are the first indicator that you’re not brushing your teeth enough. The soft gum tissue is especially susceptible to the damaging effects of plaque and bacteria that form in your mouth. Signs of gum disease include:
- Bleeding and gum tenderness
- Bad breath
- Bright red gums
- Loose or chipping teeth
- Receding gums
- Loss of teeth
None of this should appeal to you. Neither should the cavities or the bad breath that accompanies not brushing enough. If you want a healthy mouth and smile, take the time to clean properly and for a sufficient amount of time.
How long should you brush your teeth?
As stated above, the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. However, you can’t just put on a timer, brush mindlessly, and expect that two minutes will do enough to keep your mouth healthy. To efficiently brush your teeth, ensure you reach every possible surface.
A good way to do this is to separate your mouth into quadrants: top left, bottom left, top right, and bottom right. For 30 seconds, focus on cleaning the top left quadrant. Gently massage your toothbrush, in short, soft motions along the gum line. Don’t forget to brush the tongue-facing surface of your teeth. It’s easy to forget, but many people develop cavities on that area due to neglect. After the 30 seconds is complete, move on to another quadrant. Repeat until your teeth are perfectly clean and the two minutes are up.
How often should you brush your teeth?
Brushing your teeth twice a day and every day should be sufficient for a healthy smile. However, many people like to brush after a meal which is also fine. However, the enamel on your teeth is delicate, so take certain things into consideration. Wait 15-20 minutes after a meal to ensure you digest any sugars or acids in the food, so they don’t damage your teeth. If you can’t wait, rinsing your mouth out with warm water should help rid your mouth of abrasive materials. And no matter how often you choose to brush your teeth, never brush too hard. It will strip your enamel and scratch your gums. Always use a soft bristle toothbrush for the gentlest clean.
What are some tips to brush your teeth long enough?
Nowadays we all have a timer on our phones perfect for tracking your twice-a-day two minutes. However, if you need something more water-resistant, a good old fashioned egg timer does the trick. Put it next to your toothbrush, and you will never forget it. If you want something even more convenient, most electric toothbrushes automatically time you for two minutes. Some of them even pulse every 30 seconds, so you know when to switch to a new section of the mouth. Plus, people that use electric toothbrushes tend to remove more plaque while still being gentle on the enamel and gums.