Brushing your teeth is the cornerstone of a healthy dental hygiene routine. We have been taught, told, and exhorted to brush our teeth from the emergence of our very first tooth. For many of us, the act of brushing our teeth has become an almost sacred part of our daily routines. We wake up, we brush our teeth, we go about our days, and we brush our teeth before we go to bed for the night.
Yet, despite being an ingrained part of most of our daily lives, myths and misperceptions around the practice still remain. As it turns out, we all could use a refresher now and then on the basics of dental hygiene when it comes to brushing your teeth.
11 Common Misunderstandings About Brushing Your Teeth
In fact, that is a very common misunderstanding. Brushing too often may actually damage your gums and teeth through dental abrasion. Brush twice per day, every day. No more, no less.
Provided that you are brushing with the right techniques, additional time over the bathroom sink won’t contribute much more to your dental health.
While it may seem like scrubbing your teeth by brushing harder would remove more debris, the truth is that brushing too hard will only damage your teeth and gums through abrasion. Patients must understand that the goal of brushing is to mechanically remove food debris and plaque. Brushing alone cannot remove extrinsic and intrinsic stains. It is easy to think that brushing harder will produce better results. This is a misunderstanding.
Many patients have a tendency to either over-brush or brush too hard. A soft brush will help prevent patients from abrading their teeth and gums and causing permanent damage.
Rather, brushing is only intended to control bacterial population and prevent overproliferation. You can never truly completely eliminate all bacteria in the mouth or on your teeth. Nor would the complete elimination of the microbes in your mouth be a good idea. Some bacteria are actually helpful and contribute to both oral and bodily health.
Food and drinks tend to contain acids that leach the minerals out of your teeth. Brushing demineralized teeth can actually damage the enamel and wear it away. Allowing a 30-minute gap between eating and brushing gives your teeth an opportunity to remineralize prior to brushing.
Despite the proliferation of fluoride-free products in the dental hygiene market today, no toothpaste product is as effective as a product containing fluoride. Fluoride is completely safe and the introduction of fluoridated water has had enormous benefits for public health. Fluoride plays a critical and irreplaceable role in remineralizing teeth.
While the mechanical scraping action of the brush heads will dislodge much of the debris and remove plaque, toothpaste contains critical compounds that supercharge the cleaning process. Fluoride promotes remineralization while microscopic bits of silica help scrape clean the surfaces of your teeth.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t exactly know what brushing correctly means. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you want to hold your bristles at a 45-degree angle to your teeth.
You also want to brush each tooth individually with small circular movements. Many people tend to brush in broad strokes across multiple teeth. Don’t do that, or you’ll miss a spot.
An old toothbrush with excessively frayed bristles won’t perform as well as a new brush and can actually become a haven for bacteria.
Come to Willow Pass Dental Care to Learn More About dental hygiene!
Willow Pass Dental Care is dedicated to providing the best dental care, including preventative dentistry, for both children and adults. We are centrally located in beautiful Concord, California but also serve our neighbors in Walnut Creek, Morocco, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, and Pittsburg. Come by and see why we are the leading dentist in Concord.