A Comprehensive Guide to Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is largely considered the most crucial step in any oral health plan. But still, many people do not brush their teeth often or adequately enough because they find it to be a bothersome chore. In some cases, they might even find it physically uncomfortable. A recent survey says that nearly 50% of people are not happy with their teeth with 64% citing discoloration as their main reason. For many, poor dental hygiene, including inadequate brushing and flossing, is the main reason why their teeth are darkening. This information leads one to wonder: how often should I be brushing?

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time. According to a study from 2019, the majority of people only brush for 45 seconds, which does not adequately remove plaque from your teeth. In fact, increasing brushing time from 45 seconds to two minutes helps remove 26% more plaque.

Some of the best dentists even recommend brushing after each meal. However, if you have just eaten an acidic food or drink, such as a glass of orange juice with breakfast, it is best to wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth. Since drinking acidic drinks or eating acidic foods weaken the enamel on your teeth, brushing too soon after can actually remove your enamel. If you are brushing twice a day, it is best to brush in the morning and before you go to bed since the formation of plaque is largely undisturbed during the night.

The Benefits of Brushing

Brushing your teeth twice a day helps remove food and plaque, a soft, sticky white film that forms on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. After you eat foods that contain sugars, this bacteria produces an acid that damages your tooth enamel. If this acid breaks down your enamel enough, this is what causes the dreaded cavity. Plaque that remains undeterred can also harden into tartar, which makes it more difficult to keep your teeth clean. If tartar builds up on your gum line, inflammation could occur, which is the cause of gum disease and tooth decay. Brushing your teeth regularly can also lower your risk of certain oral cancers.

How to Brush

Along with brushing for at least two minutes, it is just as important to employ proper brushing technique. According to the American Dental Association, proper brushing technique involves:

  • Holding your brush at a 45 degree angle
  • For the outside surfaces of your teeth, use a gentle, small circular motion
  • For the chewing surfaces of your teeth, use a gentle back and forth motion
  • For the inner surfaces of your teeth, turn your brush vertically and use an up and down motion
  • To remove bacteria and prevent bad breath, brush your tongue using back to front strokes
  • After each use, rinse your toothbrush with water and store upright to let air-dry, not making contact with other brushes or surfaces

It is recommended to use a toothbrush with soft bristles for the best cleaning. A toothbrush with harder bristles may damage your enamel or lead to receding gums. In fact, a battery-operated or electric toothbrush with rotating heads has been proven to remove plaque more effectively than manual toothbrushes. Your brush should be replaced immediately if the bristles appear to be worn out, frayed, or even bent. As a general rule, replace your brush every three to four months.

Some important oral health tips that go hand in hand with brushing your teeth are:

  • Flossing before you brush, at least once a day
  • Using mouthwash after brushing to reach where your brush can not
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Eating a healthy diet low in sugar
  • Having periodic dental checkups, X-rays, and cleanings

Despite how diligent you are with your oral health, it is recommended to see a dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and cleaning.

The Best Dentist For You and Your Family

If you are looking for the best dentist in the Chantill, Aldie, Stone Ridge, Ashburn, Brambleton, or Arcola areas, Loudoun Dental Associates can make dental care easy for you and your family. For crowns, fillings, implants, or other dental improvements, contact the best dentist: Loudoun Dental Associates.