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Long Wharf Dental Group
1 Long Wharf Drive, Suite #221, New Haven, CT 06511

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Brushing Up on the Benefits of Brushing

Everyone assumes that since they’ve been brushing their teeth all their life, they know how to do it. While this may be true, it can be helpful sometimes to brush up on your basic techniques so that you provide your teeth and gums with the best care possible. With proper care, your teeth can last for a lifetime, so take a few moments to brush up on good brushing practices.

Why Is It So Important to Properly Brush Your Teeth?

Your mouth is the entryway for your entire body, so everything that goes into your mouth will eventually find its way into your bloodstream. When you don’t adequately brush and floss, you can accumulate bacteria in your mouth, and they can travel throughout your body. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to serious health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, pulmonary disease, and stroke. If you want good physical health, then you need to have good oral health.

Are There Consequences of Having Plaque on Your Teeth for Extended Periods of Time?

Plaque is the sticky substance in your mouth that makes your teeth feel fuzzy. Plaque is rife with bacteria, and when it remains in contact with your teeth, it erodes the enamel, then settles between the crevices between your teeth and gum, and decay sets in. Next, your gums become inflamed, which is the early stage of gingivitis. When gingivitis isn’t treated, it becomes periodontal disease, which can ultimately cause you to lose your teeth. It will destroy your gums and your jawbone, and your facial features will become distorted. This can all be prevented by a program of good oral hygiene.

Which Brushing Habits Are Best for Healthy Teeth?

Dental professionals see the negative effects of poor oral hygiene every day. However, if you can’t get to the dentist, you can follow the recommendations of the American Dental Association, which are:

  • Brush every tooth: It may seem to be a given that brushing would reach all of your teeth, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Some teeth, like your molars, may be more difficult to reach, particularly if you have a small jaw structure. Similarly, if a tooth is sensitive, you may avoid brushing it because it’s painful to do so. However, these are the teeth that may need the most care. If you have a sensitive tooth that seems to worsen, then contact your New Haven dentist immediately.
  • At a minimum, brush at least twice each day: Twice-daily brushing minimizes the time that bacteria and acid have contact with your teeth. This deters the formation of decay and cavities.
  • Checkups and cleanings: No matter how assiduously you brush and floss, you should have regular dental cleanings and checkups. Your dentist can notice potential problems before they escalate, so make sure you schedule appointments every year, but every six months is better.
  • Equipment: Be sure to thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after each use and make sure it’s clean. Store it upright and away from other toothbrushes so that it can air dry. Don’t cover it or store it in a closed container because that can contribute to the onset of mold and bacteria.
  • Equipment replacement: Your toothbrush should be replaced at least every three months. If you’ve been ill or if the bristles start to wear, then replace it sooner.
  • Flossing: Your toothbrush may not be able to reach every area in your mouth, so use dental floss to reach areas that your toothbrush can’t. Ideally, you should floss after every meal or snack, but at a minimum, you should floss before you go to bed.
  • Toothbrush choices: When you buy a toothbrush, make sure that it fits your mouth comfortably. The size of your toothbrush should be based on the size of your jaw rather than the size of your hand or anything else. If you have a small jaw, then you’ll probably need a smaller toothbrush. Make sure that the bristles are soft enough that they don’t damage your teeth but are firm enough to remove all the bacteria and plaque. Many dental professionals now recommend battery-operated toothbrushes. They can be more effective than manual toothbrushes, sometimes just because people tend to brush longer with a battery-operated toothbrush. Ask your dentist if you’re unsure of the best type of toothbrush for your unique needs.
  • Technique: To ensure that you get the most from your brushing regimen, envision your mouth as four separate sections. Concentrate on each section for at least two minutes, ensuring that you reach all surfaces of each tooth. Hold your toothbrush at an angle and use gentle pressure.
  • Motion: You can use either a circular motion or an up-and-down motion, whichever is more comfortable for you. No matter the motion you use, be sure to use gentle pressure so that you don’t damage your tooth enamel.
  • Tongue: Brushing your tongue daily will contribute to good dental health and better breath. The surface of your tongue is very rough, so it’s an ideal hiding place for bacteria and germs.
  • Timing: The order of brushing first or flossing first isn’t important as long as you brush for at least two minutes in addition to the time you spend flossing.
  • Toothpaste: Toothpaste is available in innumerable flavors and applications, but be sure that your toothpaste carries the American Dental Association seal of approval.
  • Rinsing: Even after flossing and then brushing for two minutes, some residual bacteria may remain in your mouth. Using an antibacterial mouthwash that’s approved by the American Dental Association can rid your mouth of any elusive bacteria. For the times that it isn’t feasible to brush and floss, using an antibacterial mouthwash will help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Can Brushing the Correct Way Give Me Healthy Teeth and Gums?

In addition to brushing and flossing, you need to have a healthy lifestyle if you want truly healthy teeth and gums. However, proper brushing and flossing can help to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy throughout your life.

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Long Wharf Dental Group

1 Long Wharf Drive, Suite #221, New Haven, CT 06511

(203) 764-2386