According to the American Dental Association, you should brush at least twice a day and use a fluoride toothpaste.
The reason for brushing is to remove food particles and plaque. Plaque is contains bacteria which in turn produces acids that eat at your tooth enamel. This is how cavities form. If you don’t brush your teeth, the plaque hardens into tarter which is even more difficult to remove.
When to Brush Teeth
Dentists advise that you brush twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. There are specific times that you should avoid brushing your teeth such as soon after having an acidic meal or drink. The reason is the acid actually weakens the tooth enamel and brushing too soon may aggravate the problem. If you anticipate eating or drinking something acidic, you are better off brushing before hand.
Brushing twice daily may not be enough to maintain healthy teeth and gums. In addition to brushing you should also;
- Floss every day
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or when the bristles begin to fray
- Eat a healthy diet and minimize snacks in between meals
- Drink plenty of water
- Visit the dentist at least twice a year
Common Brushing Mistakes
Brushing twice a day is only effective as long as you do it correctly. There are a few common brushing mistakes that you might want to avoid including;
Not Changing Brushes Often Enough
Your average toothbrush should last about 3 months before you need to change it. Broken or frayed bristles do not clean your mouth as well as your toothbrush should. Change your toothbrush at least every 3-4 months or as soon as you notice your bristles have started to come loose or are frayed.
Not Brushing Long Enough
Dentists recommend that you spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth. A recent study revealed that most people spend on average 45 seconds brushing. The reason why you need to brush for at least two minutes is so that you allow fluoride enough time to attach to your tooth enamel. An electric toothbrush with a timer might help make sure that you are brushing for as long as you need to.
Using the Wrong Brushing Technique
The correct way to brush is to use gentle, circular motions with the bristles at a 45-degree angle. Use vibrations or short strokes. Many people brush horizontally along the gum line which can erode gum tissue.
Brushing too hard
Lastly, some people are too vigorous or aggressive which may lead to receding gum line and swollen gums. Be gently with your teeth and use a toothbrush with soft bristles especially if you have sensitive gums.
To sum it up, you should brush twice a day and after eating sugary foods. Bacteria thrive on sugar so watch your sweet tooth. Ask your dentist about the proper brushing technique and what else you can do to preserve your teeth.