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Brushing Up on the Benefits of Brushing

Brushing your teeth has probably become pretty routine now that you’re an adult. As with most daily routines, we can slack off a little sometimes when we’re busy or tired. Life can get hectic at times, but a good oral care routine, including brushing and flossing, is so important. Sometimes a refresher course can highlight how easy it is to take proper care of your teeth in hardly any time at all. After all, you’d most likely want to keep your natural teeth in top shape for as long as possible and avoid costly and invasive dental procedures.

What Benefits Can I Get From Brushing My Teeth Twice Daily?

Brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing once daily is sufficient. For this little bit of time out of your day, you gain many benefits. First, your breath will smell fresh, especially after brushing in the morning. More importantly, brushing removes plaque, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Consistently following a good oral care routine can help prevent pain from untreated cavities that grow large enough to reach the pulp of the tooth. Gum disease can also cause pain, tooth loss and heart and lung problems. Brushing as recommended and seeing a dentist every six months for an exam can keep your teeth clean, pain-free and looking bright and white.

Why Is Plaque Control So Important?

Controlling plaque by brushing and flossing your teeth is the most important thing you can do to help prevent cavities and gum disease. Plaque will take the sugars in foods and drinks and create an acid that rots away tooth enamel, leaving your teeth vulnerable to decay and infection. If you don’t remove plaque regularly, it will harden into a yellowish substance called tartar. Tartar usually appears at the gumline and between teeth where plaque is easy to miss if you don’t clean your teeth thoroughly. You can’t remove tartar by brushing; you need a professional teeth cleaning at the dentist’s office to get rid of it.

Plaque and tartar can cause gingivitis, an inflammation of your gums. If you notice your gums look swollen, red and they bleed easily, see your dentist. He or she can reverse gingivitis, which will prevent it from possibly progressing to a more advanced form of gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious infection of your gums that creates pockets of pus between your teeth and under your gums. The bacteria can damage the support structure that holds a tooth in place, making it loose. The tooth could fall out is the disease’s progress isn’t halted. Additionally, many studies have linked periodontitis to respiratory illnesses and heart disease. Diabetics with periodontitis also have more difficulty controlling their blood sugar.

How to Create an Easy-to-follow Toothbrushing Routine

Having a good toothbrushing routine, brushing twice a day for two minutes, is easier when you have the right equipment.

1. Get the Right Toothbrush
You need a toothbrush which allows you to reach all your teeth easily. Choose one with soft, rounded tip bristles that won’t damage your teeth or gums. A toothbrush that has bristles of different heights is better for reaching into the nooks and crannies of your teeth.

Always rinse your toothbrush with hot water when you’re finished brushing. Store it in a toothbrush holder or cup where it’s upright and not touching anyone else’s toothbrush. Storing your toothbrush correctly will stop you from introducing bacteria in your mouth every time you brush.

2. Pick a Fluoride Toothpaste You Like
There are fluoride toothpastes and gels in different flavors. Pick one you like so you’re more likely to brush in the morning and evening. Once you’re finished, spit out any remaining toothpaste, but don’t rinse with water. Keeping a small amount of fluoride toothpaste on your teeth will allow it it sink in and provide cavity protection.

3. Brush Morning and Evening
You should brush every morning and before going to bed. Some people choose to brush after every meal, however, many dentists caution against brushing immediately after eating. You should wait an hour if possible as eating acidic or sugary foods can temporarily weaken tooth enamel.

Be sure to brush the front, back and chewing surface of every tooth. Hold your toothbrush at an angle, pointing toward your gumline. Apply gentle pressure using circular motions to clean your teeth. Use enough pressure to bend the soft bristles on your toothbrush, but don’t squish them flat against your teeth.

4. Floss Your Teeth Daily
People don’t often floss like they should, possibly because they are not sure how to floss correctly. You take a foot and a half of floss and wrap it around each of your middle fingers. Use your thumb and index finger to guide a small section between your teeth. Make a C shape to clean the sides of each tooth. Use a fresh section when you move on to the next space. It takes coordination, especially to clean between your molars. Used waxed dental floss if the space between your teeth is tight; it will slide in easier. If manual dexterity is an issue, ask your dentist about using a water powered flosser.

5. Use Mouthwash if Desired
Some people like the tingly, fresh feeling they get using a mouthwash. Your dental professional may recommend a specific type of therapeutic mouthwash if you’re a high risk for cavities or gum disease. If you want a mouthwash to perform a specific function besides freshening your breath, look for one that earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This ensures it is not only safe to use, but proven to work as promised.

10 Minutes a Day to Better Oral Health

It takes less than 10 minutes a day to brush your teeth twice and floss once a day. It’s a small investment in time for a lifetime of good dental health. Get into good oral care habits, supported by regular dental exams and teeth cleanings and watching your sugar intake, and your smile will thank you.

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