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Valley Dental Associates
9199 Reisterstown Road, Suite 206B, Owings Mills, MD 21117

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Brush Up on the Benefits of Brushing

Most people think that their tooth brushing skills are just fine, particularly since they’ve been brushing their teeth all their lives. However, when we repeat an activity thousands of times, it’s not unusual to become lackadaisical about it. If you want to have the best oral hygiene possible, then the following brushing basics may help you.

Why Is It Necessary to Brush My Teeth Regularly and Properly?

After you eat or drink, a sticky, bacteria-laden substance called plaque starts to form on your teeth. When not removed by brushing and flossing, plaque will settle in the crevices of your teeth and gums. Bacteria will proliferate, and decay and cavities will start. When you don’t remove the plaque, it will turn into a substance called calculus that can only be removed by a dental professional. Plaque formation is a by-product of eating and drinking, but brushing your teeth removes the plaque and the bacteria that accompany it.

What Problems Can Be Caused By Plaque?

If you don’t remove plaque through brushing and flossing, then it will lodge in the crevices of your teeth and gums. It will encourage the formation of additional bacteria, which will encourage decay and cavities. Plaque irritates the gums, so they become inflamed, which is the initial stage of gingivitis. When left untreated, gingivitis will develop into periodontal disease. In its early stage, gingivitis can be treated without permanent damage to your teeth and gums. When it’s not treated, however, and it develops into periodontal disease, permanent damage has occurred.

Periodontal disease can destroy the ligaments that secure your teeth, and you’ll lose all of your teeth. It can destroy your jawbone and your facial structure. Ultimately, you can die from untreated periodontal disease as it has been linked to cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and stroke, as well as pneumonia and diabetes. If you have gum disease, seek immediate treatment.

Will Good Brushing Habits Provide Healthy Teeth?

Even though brushing your teeth may seem like a mundane chore that’s not very significant, good brushing habits are vital to both your oral health and your physical health. Your dentist can provide you with tips on how to brush better, or you can follow the guidelines established by the American Dental Association, which are as follows:

  • Brushing: You should be able to brush all your teeth. This may sound like a given, but it’s easy to miss one or more teeth due to your toothbrush being the wrong size, a lack of manual dexterity, or having one or more sensitive teeth. If you have one or more sensitive teeth, then consult your dentist without delay so that you don’t risk losing them.
  • Brush twice a day at a minimum: Brushing after each meal or snack reduces the amount of time that plaque remains in your mouth. Reducing the contact time between acids, bacteria, and your teeth can make a significant difference in your oral and physical health.
  • Checkups and cleanings: You may have the world’s best dental hygiene, but you still need to have regular dental checkups and cleanings. Your hygienist can probably find areas that you missed and provide you with tips on better brushing. Your dentist may notice a potential issue before it becomes a major problem and can advise you if you need to alter your daily hygiene regimen. Semi-annual checkups and cleanings are best, but if that’s not feasible, then annual checkups and cleanings should be on your schedule.
  • Equipment: Many dental professionals are now recommending that their patients use battery-operated toothbrushes rather than manual ones. The battery-operated toothbrushes clean more thoroughly than their manual counterparts, and they always use the correct motion. Whether you use a manual toothbrush or a battery-operated one, make sure that you rinse the bristles thoroughly and store them away from other toothbrushes. They should be upright and able to air dry. Don’t use a closed container because that will encourage the growth of bacteria and mold.
  • Equipment replacement: Whether manual or battery-operated, your toothbrush should be replaced every three months, sooner if the bristles become worn. Replace it immediately if you’ve been sick.
  • Flossing: Flossing is as important as brushing, and the two procedures have similar objectives. Dental floss can reach hard-to-get areas that your toothbrush may miss. It’s important to floss, so if you only floss once daily, then floss at night before bedtime.
  • Toothbrush choices: Whether you opt for a manual or battery-operated toothbrush, it should fit your mouth comfortably. If it’s too small, it will take too long, and you’ll likely skip on your brushing time. If it’s too large, it won’t reach all the places it needs to reach. The bristles should be firm enough to remove bacteria and plaque but not firm enough to damage your tooth enamel.
  • Technique: The American Dental Association recommends that you mentally section your mouth into four quadrants and spend at least 30 seconds on each quadrant. Hold your brush at an angle to your teeth and use gentle pressure.
  • Tongue: It may seem slightly odd, but brushing your tongue can provide health benefits. The surface of your tongue is covered in taste buds, so it’s very rough. This makes it an ideal hiding place for bacteria, but brushing your tongue will help eliminate those bacteria, and it will freshen your breath as well.
  • Motion: Whether you use a circular or an up-and-down motion doesn’t matter as long as you brush for two minutes each time and use gentle pressure.
  • Timing: There’s no set method for brushing and flossing, whether you brush and then floss or the other way around. Just ensure that you brush and floss daily.
  • Toothpaste: Your toothpaste choice is a matter of personal preference as long the toothpaste you use carries the American Dental Association seal of approval.
  • Rinsing: The best dental hygiene program can be better when you use an antibacterial mouthwash. Even after dedicated brushing and flossing, you can have residual bacteria in your mouth. Using an antibacterial mouthwash can eliminate bacterial residue and provide the cleanest mouth possible. It will also provide you with fresher breath. An antibacterial mouthwash is especially beneficial for the times that it’s not feasible to brush and floss.

Is Brushing Necessary for Healthy Teeth and Gums?

Brushing and flossing are essential for healthy teeth and gums, and using an antibacterial mouthwash is the final step in having the cleanest and healthiest mouth possible.

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