November 1st is National Brush Day!
It’s time to break out the healthy smile dance. This is a special day to remind us of the importance of oral health by promoting good tooth brushing habits recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA). Brushing your teeth twice (2) a day for two (2) minutes can help you have strong teeth and healthy gums. It can also have a positive impact on your well-being.
Brush your teeth daily to prevent tooth decay and health problems.
Dental plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that is always building on our teeth. Plaque buildup can cause cavities and gum disease. Plaque buildup that is not removed can harden and turn into tartar. Only a dental professional can remove tartar once it has formed.
Brushing your teeth daily, flossing*, and regular dental visits can help you have a healthier mouth and protect your overall health. Recent studies have shown dental disease from poor dental hygiene is linked to health problems such as cardiovascular disease and bacterial pneumonia (Mayo Clinic).
Brush with a fluoride toothpaste.
When you eat foods containing sugar and starches such as chips, fries, cookies, candy, and drink sugar sweetened beverages, the cavity-causing bacteria in our mouth feed on these foods and drinks and change them into acids. Overtime, these acids attack tooth enamel (the outer surface of your teeth) and cause little holes or cavities in your teeth.
Tooth enamel protects the inner, more fragile areas of your teeth. Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste strengthens tooth enamel by making it more resistant to the acid attacks that cause tooth decay.
Proper tooth brushing technique from the American Dental Association.
- Using a soft bristle toothbrush, place it at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Gently move the brush back and forth in short, tooth-wide strokes. For children, brush with small circular motions.
- Gently brush teeth twice (2) a day, for two (2) minutes.
- Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- Click on the image to watch a short video on brushing your teeth from Colgate.
- Always follow dental brushing techniques as directed by a dentist, hygienist, or physician.
Tooth brushing tips for a healthy, happy smile.
Below are tooth brushing tips that can help you have strong and healthy teeth. Impress the dentist at your next dental visit.
Pregnancy – Don’t skip your brushing! Morning sickness can do a number on the mouth. Stomach acid can make its way into the mouth and weaken tooth enamel. Click here for more dental care tips during pregnancy and post-partum.
Infants – Once the first teeth appear, gently brush them with a soft baby toothbrush and a smear (grain of rice) size of fluoride toothpaste. Tooth decay can develop as soon as the first tooth comes in.
Children – Help smaller children develop a tooth brushing routine. Be sure to brush through a second time, reaching areas that they may have missed such as their molars. Help older children with their routine by being creative and supportive. Try rewarding good brushing habits.
Teens – Encourage your teenager to brush their teeth regularly. Teenagers can forget to brush due to busy school schedules. Lead by example. Your teen may be more likely to brush their teeth twice a day by watching you care for your dental health.
Adults – Do not brush too hard. This can harm your gums, causing gum recession and sensitivity. Brushing too hard can also wear away tooth enamel. Make the time to properly brush your teeth gently. If you wear dentures, clean them daily by brushing them with soap and water. Avoid toothpaste or abrasive cleaners.
Caregivers – For people who can brush on their own but need help, place your hand very gently over the person’s hand and guide the toothbrush. For someone who is unable to brush, choose a location with enough lighting and position for yourself to see all surfaces of the teeth. Click here for additional tooth brushing techniques for caregivers.
Extra brushing tips.
- Brush teeth before bedtime. During the day, saliva helps rinse away some plaque and small bits of food. Your mouth has less saliva while you sleep. Brushing before bedtime helps prevent plaque buildup.
- Avoid brushing your teeth right after you have consumed acidic foods or drinks. Foods such as lemons and oranges can weaken tooth enamel and brushing too soon can remove the enamel. It is recommended to wait about 60 minutes before brushing.
- Brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. This helps remove bacteria buildup and freshens breath.
*Remember to floss daily. No matter what age, flossing is just as important as brushing to keep teeth and gums healthy.