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Posted on: January 25, 2021
How to Take Care of Your Teeth
You’ve likely been brushing your teeth since you were a child. When you’ve been brushing your teeth for this long, you probably aren’t even really thinking about it while you’re doing it. This leads to the question: Are you brushing your teeth properly? Brushing and flossing properly, as well as seeing your dentist regularly for checkups and exams, are the most important things you can do to ensure a lifetime of great oral health. Find out the benefits of brushing your teeth properly and how you can brush up on the basics of brushing and flossing by reading more below.
Why You Should Brush Your Teeth
The reasons why you should brush and floss regularly extend beyond having fresh breath and preventing stains. Improper brushing can promote tooth decay. The early signs of tooth decay include tooth sensitivity, pain when biting down, and toothaches. If allowed to progress, tooth decay can affect the tooth’s nerve, which may require a root canal to prevent the tooth from being removed. An abscess can also occur, which is a serious infection that requires prompt treatment.
Gum disease may also occur due to improper brushing. Although common, gum disease can lead to periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease that causes bone loss around your teeth. This can lead to loose teeth and eventually tooth loss. The good news is that gum disease and periodontitis are preventable. It’s very important that you diligently brush and floss your teeth at home to ensure the health of your teeth and gums.
The Harmful Effects of Plaque
Plaque is a very sticky deposit of bacteria that forms on your teeth regularly. It’s usually colorless, but plaque can also be a pale yellow color. Eating carbohydrates or foods and drinks high in sugar can increase the levels of plaque bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria in plaque and the sugars in food and drinks produce harmful acids that attack tooth enamel. Over time, this can cause your tooth enamel to break down, resulting in tooth decay and cavities.
If plaque isn’t removed every day through careful brushing and flossing, it can combine with minerals found in saliva and turn into tartar. This is a hard, yellow substance that is usually seen around the gumline. Although plaque can be removed at home by maintaining a good oral care regimen, only a dental professional can remove tartar from your teeth and around the gumline.
The bacteria in plaque and tartar are highly irritating to the sensitive gum tissue. When left on your teeth for a prolonged period of time, you might start to experience red, swollen gums that bleed when you’re brushing or flossing. These are the symptoms of gingivitis, which can be reversed by seeing your dentist and maintaining good oral hygiene at home.
If you ignore gingivitis, it can develop into periodontitis. This is a serious dental problem that can lead to your gums separating from your teeth. In advanced cases, periodontitis affects the bones that support your teeth, leading to tooth loss.
Avoid These Tooth Brushing Mistakes
Brushing and flossing your teeth might seem like straightforward tasks, but very few of us perform them as well as we should. Below you’ll find information about some of the most common brushing mistakes and how you can fix them to improve your oral health. If you want to keep your beautiful, natural teeth for life, make sure to follow the recommendations from the American Dental Association and your local dentist.
Brushing Too Hard
Although it’s important to thoroughly clean your entire mouth, applying hard pressure when you brush your teeth can damage your gum tissue and weaken your enamel. Since plaque is usually soft and loose, you only need to apply gentle pressure when you’re brushing.
Not Brushing Long Enough
If you’re not brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time, you’re not brushing long enough. To make sure you brush your teeth for at least two minutes, try timing yourself. You can also separate your mouth into four sections and dedicate 30 seconds to brushing each section.
Using the Wrong Toothbrush
Make sure that your toothbrush is approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). It’s also important to use a toothbrush that has soft bristles. Unlike hard, stiff bristles, a soft-bristled toothbrush is flexible and easily removes plaque and bacteria. Hard bristles can also wear down your enamel and damage gum tissue. A toothbrush with a small-to-medium sized head allows you to reach all areas of your mouth, even your back molars.
Using the Wrong Brushing Technique
While brushing, hold your toothbrush at a slight angle. Start from the gumline and use short strokes in a circular, up-and-down motion. Use minimal pressure and make sure that you brush the surface of each tooth, including the inside, outside, and top. To clean behind your front teeth, hold your toothbrush vertically. Don’t forget to brush your teeth to remove bacteria.
Not Changing Your Toothbrush Frequently
Take a look at your toothbrush. Are any of the bristles frayed, bent, or discolored? If so, it’s time to replace your toothbrush with a new one. When a toothbrush shows signs of wear, it loses its effectiveness. Change your toothbrush at least every three months or sooner if it’s showing signs of wear.
You Don’t Floss Every Day
Flossing each day is just as important as brushing your teeth twice a day. Flossing helps you clean between your teeth effectively, removing any remaining food particles or debris that might remain after brushing.
How Our Dentists Can Improve Your Smile
Practicing good oral hygiene also means seeing your dentist twice a year for cleanings and exams. Our team wants you to have healthy teeth for life, and we’ll work with you to provide complete dental care for you and your family. In addition to helping you select the right toothbrush or toothpaste, our dentists and dental hygienists can also help you learn how to brush and floss correctly. Get in touch with us today to make your appointment!