Yes. The short answer to this question is that brushing all 32 of your teeth is an integral part of an overall health plan. After all, the lining of your mouth provides a direct route to your bloodstream, and as bacteria builds it’s also moving around your body through the bloodstream.
But, the long answer is more complicated. Factors such as technique, toothbrush choice, and choosing the right professional are all important factors. But, if you ask yourself, “How often should I brush my teeth?”, it’s important to research different opinions and outlooks on dental health, just as you would want a second opinion for any major medical decision.
From the types of foods you eat, to the brand of toothbrush you choose, there is much about dental health and hygiene that is completely in your hands. As it is known that poor dental health can have wide-ranging health impacts later on in life, it’s absolutely crucial that you understand the basics of dental health, which starts off with a healthy regimen.
This is why we’ve gone to work bringing you the best opinions about why brushing your teeth—and why it’s important—cannot be ignored. We’ve compiled several professional dental opinions in the dental world that anybody worried about dental health should consider.
Twice a Day – But with Other Factors
Thomas J. Salinas, D.D.S., offered the Mayo Clinic the dental world’s standard response to this question. Salinas suggests brushing twice a day, but with consideration for other factors.
Salinas’ point is not necessarily how often you brush your teeth, but what else you do to complete an overall healthy dental health regimen. For instance, if you’ve eaten a food high in acidity, he recommends not brushing your teeth immediately afterward.
Foods like grapefruit, lime, lemon, and other citrus fruits weaken tooth enamel after eating them. The acidic qualities of sodium fluoride—a common additive in brand-name toothpastes and municipal water supplies—will further damage your teeth with the enamel in this weakened state.
Drinking water is also very important. Brushing your teeth once in the morning and once at night is, above all, important for removing food particles which will later turn into plaque, but it’s far too often to brush after each meal and snack. Instead, swish water around your mouth briskly to remove excess food for those in-between meals and snacks.
It’s Technique, and Your Toothbrush
Mark Burhenne, D.D.S. who has given expert opinions on CNN and other media outlets, says it’s not necessarily how often you brush your teeth. The most important factor, according to Burhenne, is technique, and your toothbrush.
Some toothbrush producers simply cut the nylon bristles on your toothbrush, leaving sharp edges which Burhenne says cut into the enamel of your teeth. He says it’s important to choose a toothbrush producer that rounds off the edges so that you’re not essentially scrubbing little knives into the surface of your teeth.
When it comes to technique, the American Dental Association suggests brushing at a 45-degree angle, with small, tooth-sized back and forth strokes for the outside surfaces. When brushing the inside surfaces, the ADA suggests quick, short up-and-down strokes.
Toothbrush and Mouth Size
Kimberly Harms, D.D.S. from Farmington, MN, told WebMD that the size of your toothbrush is an extremely important factor. If you have a smaller or larger mouth (which a dental professional can determine for you), there are toothbrushes made specifically for you.
Choosing the right toothbrush is important because you want to be able to reach all the small spaces in your mouth. This helps to ensure a complete cleaning, which is perhaps the most important factor in determining dental health. Bacteria, plaque, and tooth decay can all grow in spaces that are not properly cleaned.
The Last Word?
There are many factors that determine dental health. But, the overriding lesson is this—yes, it is integral to brush your teeth, at least twice a day. With the right technique and the right toothbrush, you can take steps to ensure your dental health.
Also important is to schedule regular checkups with your dentist. Here at Star Dental, our passion is ensuring your mouth is clean, and that your routine fits in with a general practice of not only dental—but overall—health.
Author; Dr Jeremy Rourke, B.D.S. Hons. Syd Univ. Dental Surgeon
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My name is Jeremy Rourke. I’m part of a family of dentists with my father, brother, cousin and nephew also being dentists. I won a University of Sydney Dental Alumni prize for being the top student in my year and graduated with Honours in 1971. I have been a Registered dentist for over 40 years. In that time I have created a few “firsts” in my efforts to stay ahead.