Good dental hygiene begins with regularly brushing your teeth. Sticking to a daily routine of brushing and flossing helps maintain a bright smile, fewer cavities, and better overall oral health.
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice daily, using a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes each time.
When you brush your teeth, you help to remove food as well as plaque, a sticky white film that contains bacteria which clings to your teeth. After eating a meal or snack that contains sugar, the bacterium in plaque produces acids that attack the tooths enamel.
Eventually, that acid can break down tooth enamel, causing cavities. Plaque that isn’t removed can also harden and turn into tartar, making it more difficult to keep your teeth clean. If the plaque continues to linger, you also run the risk of developing gingivitis, a form of early gum disease. Gingivitis causes inflammation in your gums, making them painful and more likely to bleed.
In choosing when to brush your teeth, you might also consider your diet. If you’ve consumed any food or drink containing citric acid, such as oranges, limes, or lemons, avoid brushing your teeth right away. These acids weaken tooth enamel so brushing too soon can damage the enamel while it’s in its weakened state.
If you find keeping the proper oral hygiene routine difficult, consider buying an electric toothbrush. Studies have shown that electric toothbrushes provide a deeper clean to both teeth and gums compared to those of a manual toothbrush. Another great feature to most electric toothbrushes is, they come with a built-in two-minute timer to ensure that you are brushing for the proper amount of time, every time.
Besides brushing your teeth to keep your mouth healthy, you should also do the following:
- Floss daily
- Use a soft bristled toothbrush
- Use mouthwash after brushing and flossing
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat a healthy diet and limit sugary food and drinks
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become damaged or irregular
- Schedule regular dental checkups with X-rays and cleanings