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Brush Up on the Benefits of Brushing

Why would you need a refresher course on brushing and flossing? You’ve been taking care of your teeth since you were a child. Unfortunately, children don’t always develop the proper brushing skills or they tend to slack off when they’re tired or busy doing other things. A national health study found up to half of all young children lied to their parents about brushing their teeth, often just wetting the brush to make it look like they brushed.

As an adult, you know how important a healthy smile is, so why not make sure you’re doing everything right. Good at-home oral care takes only a few minutes a day and can provide a lifetime of benefits.

What Are Good Reasons to Commit to Regularly Brushing My Teeth?

Most people automatically brush their teeth in the morning to get rid of morning breath. They wouldn’t dream of heading off to work with foul breath. Brushing twice a day also helps prevent stains from foods and beverages. However, you shouldn’t just brush your teeth for aesthetic reasons; there are numerous health reasons to brush. Brushing helps prevent cavities and gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Periodontal disease also makes it harder for people with Type II diabetes, who are more susceptible to gum disease, to control their blood sugar levels. Brushing also help save you money, as you’ll need fewer expensive dental procedures.

Brushing your teeth is serious business and can have a profound impact on your overall health that may not be very clear or many people. If you have good oral health, you are more likely to have good overall physical health. And, who doesn’t appreciate feeling and looking good?

Why Is it Important to Remove Dental Plaque with Brushing and Flossing?

Dental plaque is a colorless film that builds up on our teeth. We brush and floss every day to remove it, but if we continuously miss spots, the plaque will harden into a substance known as tartar. You can’t remove tartar on your own; a dentist or dental hygienist has to remove it. Tartar often builds up near the gums, irritating them and causing gingivitis. If you have gingivitis, you may notice your gums look red and puffy. They may also bleed when you brush or floss.

Seeing your dentist for a professional teeth cleaning if you have gingivitis is essential, as it may progress into a more advanced form of gum disease called periodontal disease. Dentists can’t cure periodontal disease, but they can treat it to keep it from progressing. In its most advanced stage, periodontal disease will cause tooth loss. In fact, it is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

What’s the Oral Care Routine Dental Professionals Use at Home?

To keep their teeth clean and healthy, dentists and dental hygienists:

1. Use a Good Toothbrush

The ADA recommends using a toothbrush with soft, rounded bristles. It doesn’t matter if you use an electric toothbrush or a manual one; what matters is you brush for at least two minutes and reach each tooth. Electric toothbrushes are helpful for people with limited manual dexterity. You should replace your manual toothbrush or your electric toothbrush head three or four times a year. Frayed, worn bristles don’t clean well. Rinse your toothbrush after using it and store it where it can dry completely. You don’t want it to have bacteria on it already when you go to use it next time.

2. Pick a Fluoride Toothpaste

You can find many different brands of fluoride toothpaste or gel with the ADA Seal of Acceptance in your local drugstore or supermarket. Most are flavored with mint, but you can find other flavors too. Options include whitening toothpastes, anti-plaque toothpastes, and ones for sensitive teeth. Use a small amount each time you brush, about the size of a pea is enough. When you’re finished brushing, just spit out the extra toothpaste, but don’t rinse. You want to keep some fluoride on your teeth.

3. Brush Methodically

Divide your mouth into four quadrants. This is the method most dentists and dental hygienists use to brush their teeth. Brush each section for 30 seconds each so you don’t end up spending the most time on your front teeth, which is what most people do. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle pointing upward to brush the front of your teeth and brush the backs of your teeth with an up and down motion. Don’t forget to brush the chewing surfaces as well. You can also gently brush your tongue. This will remove bacteria from your mouth and help freshen your breath.

4. Flossing

Your toothbrush can’t reach between your teeth well. If you don’t remove plaque from between your teeth once a day, it can build up and cause cavities and lead to gum disease. While there are many options for flossing to make it easy, only four in 10 Americans floss once a day or more like they are supposed to and one in five don’t bother flossing at all. If flossing feels inconvenient or you have difficulty doing it, you can use an air or water-powered flosser,

5. Use a Mouthwash

A study by the Academy of General Dentistry showed that American adults who used an antiseptic mouthwash had measurably less plaque than those who didn’t use it, but brushed and flossed exactly the same way. You can also use mouthwash to make your breath minty fresh, but unless it has a therapeutic benefit, it only masks odors.

Developing Dental Care Habits to Reap Lifetime Benefits

Having an attractive, healthy smile is a definite advantage in social and professional situations. It gives a person confidence. Brushing as effectively as possible and seeing a dentist for routine exams and teeth cleanings twice a year will help you maintain your smile for as long as possible. Your dental professional can tell you if your at-home routine is working well. If not, they can make suggestions for improvements to make your brushing and flossing even more effective.

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