Good dental hygiene starts with brushing your teeth. By having a daily routine of brushing and flossing you can have fewer cavities, a cleaner mouth, and better overall health in general. We have all been taught forever to brush our teeth twice a day. But, is this really true, or should we brush more often than that, like after every time we eat? There are a lot of questions about how often and when to brush.
At Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry, we are experts in proper home dental care so we wanted to clear up any misconceptions and answer questions about how often and when to brush so you can achieve the best oral health. In this article, we will attempt to clear up this topic and give you the information you are looking for.
Additionally, we have written articles on “How to Effectively Brush and Floss,” “The Proper Way to Brush Teeth,” and “What’s the Best Toothpaste?” in case you have questions about these oral health topics.
Why Should You Brush Your Teeth?
When you eat, food collects in between your teeth and alongside your gums. If you have places between teeth where there is space or if you have places where the gums are receding, food can get caught easily and be difficult to remove. Food and plaque accumulate and are breeding grounds for bacteria. After you eat a meal or snack that contains sugar, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel.
Over time, the acid can break down tooth enamel and cause cavities. If you don’t remove the plaque, it can harden into tartar, which makes it more difficult to keep teeth clean. Tartar that builds up can lead to inflammation of your gums and cause gum disease.
When you brush your teeth, you remove plaque and food particles that are stuck to teeth and gums. If you have areas that catch food regularly, it is important to clean in between those teeth using either dental floss or a water-pik device.
How Many Times a Day Should You Brush Your Teeth?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should brush your teeth twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. The ADA also recommends that you brush your teeth for two minutes every time you brush.
When Should You Brush?
If you are brushing twice a day, the morning and evening are the best times. It is best to brush right when you wake up in the morning to get the bacteria that have built up on your teeth overnight while you’re sleeping. Even when you have brushed your teeth just before going to bed, bacteria can still accumulate during the night. The reason for this is because your mouth produces less saliva than usual while asleep and saliva washes away much of the bacteria during the day.
Brushing before going to bed is optimal. If you eat again or have a beverage after brushing, you should brush again because this food and/or sugar stick to your teeth and cause bacteria to grow and spread while asleep.
Of course, if you like the feeling of a clean mouth, it’s fine to brush during the day after you have eaten, but always use a gentle touch and a toothbrush with soft bristles. There is such a thing as over-brushing, also called “toothbrush abrasion.” When you brush too vigorously you can wear down the enamel on your teeth and damage the gums. This can lead to gum recession and sensitive teeth. And, using a brush with hard bristles can harm your gums, causing them to bleed and become inflamed as well.
Call Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry to Schedule an Appointment
If you are looking for a dental team who is dedicated to helping you maintain strong teeth and oral health, contact our Cary and Holly Springs dentists at Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry. We take a variety of insurance plans and we are currently accepting new patients. Reach us at our Holly Springs dentist office at (919) 600-6262 and our Cary, NC dentist office at (919) 467-2203, or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.