The American Dental Association has various recommendations for brushing your teeth based on studies and trends they have found to be effective for improving oral health. However, does it actually matter where and when you brush your teeth? Certain times may actually be better than others depending on your eating and lifestyle habits. Here are tips for brushing your teeth and our recommendations for proper oral hygiene habits!
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day. However, a survey conducted by Yahoo found that only 44% of men and 37% of women brush their teeth twice a day. Many at least brush once a day. Separate studies found that only about 1 in 3 millennials are brushing their teeth daily, which isn’t even the recommended twice-a-day benchmark.
These types of diseases—specifically gum disease and tooth decay—are the “chronic, prevalent disease[s]” that Americans face. The culprit? Poor eating habits and not enough brushing and flossing. When you eat, sugars in your foods and drinks will mix with mouth bacteria when you chew, creating a sticky film called plaque. Plaque is acidic and starts to break up minerals in your teeth, causing decay and gums that are red, bloody and receding. Brushing your teeth several times a day just about eliminates your risk.
Brushing is perhaps the most important oral hygiene habit you can have if you want to avoid chronic oral health conditions like tooth decay and gum disease. In fact, if more people brushed, these problems could be eliminated entirely, or be reduced significantly. 92% of people in the U.S. have had at least one, but likely more, cavities during their life. Tooth decay (cavities) is actually one of the most chronic, prevalent diseases according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Why? Because people simply don’t brush enough or don’t do their brushing and flossing correctly.
When brushing, follow these guidelines:
The answer to this question is both yes and no. It doesn’t matter when you brush your teeth, as long as you are actually doing it. Brushing at any time of the day is better than not brushing your teeth at all. If you follow the twice-a-day recommendation, brush your teeth after your morning meal and at night before bed.
Brushing your teeth at night before bed will leave them clean. Not doing so will leave your tooth enamel susceptible to decay all night long. After doing this nightly, you have a much greater risk for tooth decay. Simply brushing will remove acidic plaque buildup that would decay the teeth overnight. Brushing after a morning meal will remove plaque that you freshly put on your teeth. This leaves several hours of time until your next meal that your teeth are clean and aren’t being decayed by plaque. That only leaves a small window of time between meals that plaque is on your teeth. However, if you want to prevent tooth decay and gum disease even easier, brush your teeth after meals so you don’t have hours of time with plaque attacks happening.
The answer to this question is no. You can literally make any place work for brushing your teeth if you have the right tools to keep your teeth healthy. Often, with patients that have orthodontic appliances like metal, ceramic or lingual braces, it’s recommended that they keep an oral hygiene kit with them. This allows them to have access to cleaning tools at school, at work, on vacation, and at any other time. Having a travel kit will allow you to keep up with the ADA’s recommended twice-a-day cleaning for your teeth and gums.
In your kit, make sure you have toothpaste with fluoride in it (to better prevent cavities). Keep a small container of floss, a mirror to examine your teeth for plaque, flossers (if you have braces) and mouthwash, if there is space. It doesn’t matter where you brush your teeth, as long as you do it.
Brushing and flossing are the best oral hygiene habits you could have for your mouth. If you do nothing else, make sure you are brushing and flossing daily, several times a day for at least two minutes. Infant and toddler teeth need this care too! If you have access to mouthwash (except children), use it daily to help kill decay-causing bacteria. Fluoride is also beneficial to some patients, as this oral hygiene product can provide a shield and protection to the teeth from acids and bacteria.
No matter what oral hygiene practices you have, make sure that brushing your teeth is the main habit you practice. This will significantly reduce your risk for tooth decay, gum disease, tooth stains and other oral health issues. You can brush your teeth any time, any where. Do what works for you and get some of our oral hygiene tips by calling Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies at (970) 223-8425!