Caring For Your Oral Health
Preventive hygiene is important for your oral health. This includes attending regular cleanings and exams at your dentist's office, as well as practicing good oral health care at home with regular brushing and flossing.
Thorough teeth brushing is important for preventing tooth decay and gum disease. It helps to remove bacteria that can cause tooth decay and plaque that can cause gum disease.
Here, our dentists break down proper brushing techniques.
Proper Brushing Techniques
Clean every surface of every tooth in your mouth - the chewing surface, the cheek side, and the tongue side.
Brush at a 45-degree angle in a sweeping motion. For the upper teeth, use a sweeping downward motion, and for lower teeth use a sweeping upward motion. Only brush back and forth on chewing surfaces.
How Often to Brush
Ideally, you should brush after every meal but wait at least 30 minutes after your meal before brushing. At the very least, brush twice a day and always before you go to bed.
How Long to Brush
Don't rush it - A thorough brushing should take at least two minutes, but no longer than four minutes. You can always try timing yourself to make sure your brushing routine is long enough.
Using the Right Brush
Use a soft brush with rounded bristles that allow you to reach your back teeth.
There are many different brush shapes and sizes, so ask your dentist to suggest the best one for you.
What Happens if You Don't Brush?
For people who think they can get by without brushing their teeth, our St. Thomas dentists have some bad news. The reason we recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day is that the consequences of not brushing can be quite severe. Here’s a quick breakdown of what can happen when you stop brushing your teeth.
- Stained teeth - This is especially true if you drink coffee, wine, or smoke cigarettes.
- Tooth decay - If you don’t brush your teeth you get plaque that breaks down your tooth enamel. This will cause bad breath and eventually can cause major problems and require things like crowns and root canals.
- Gum disease - Also known as periodontal disease, this occurs when the bacteria in plaque cause swollen and bleeding gums.
- Long-term health problems - Periodontal disease is a likely outcome of not brushing one’s teeth, and periodontal disease has been associated with higher risks of kidney disease, dementia, and certain types of cancers.