Many people have grown up with those cheery little songs on television detailing how often you should brush your teeth. “Three times a day” is the standard refrain for tooth brushing commercials and ditties. Children are taught to brush their teeth after every meal in order to maintain proper dental hygiene. Is brushing your teeth after every single meal the best way to stay healthy and avoid cavities? Dentists have new ideas regarding when and why we should brush our teeth at least twice each day.
The American Dental Association recommends that each person should brush their teeth at least twice daily. The guidelines that are given state that brushing your teeth after breakfast and after dinner will help to prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease. If you read a little further into those guidelines, you will see that brushing just twice a day is actually not the very best way maintain those pearly whites and ensure good health.
Brushing after a sugary meal is the most valuable thing to remember when it comes to tooth care. The type of bacteria that resides in the human mouth produces a waste product when exposed to sugar and saliva. This acidic waste product creates a film on your teeth that is called plaque. Plaque, when not removed quickly and completely, is the major cause of gum disease and tooth decay.
Sugar is the catalyst in plaque production so if you are eating donuts for lunch, brushing your teeth is crucial to protect those teeth. Any time sugary foods are present in the mouth, tooth brushing should immediately follow. This means that an extra brushing after those candies could make a giant difference in your overall oral health.
Avoid brushing your teeth if you have had a breakfast followed by a glass of orange juice. This is a crucial rule to remember because orange juice and other acidic drinks cause a weakening of the tooth enamel. Brushing your teeth while this enamel is weak can lead to enamel damage. Stains on the teeth that are often attributed to drinking coffee or tea might be caused by enamel that is removed during improper tooth brushing. Although there is no way to avoid all acidic foods or beverages, drinking through a straw can minimize the contact between your teeth and the acid.
Brushing your teeth twice a day is considered sufficient for routine dental hygiene. If you have the extra time or can carry a toothbrush to work with you, brushing a little more often is a great way to improve your smile. Remember to brush your teeth after those sugary snacks and you will greatly improve your overall oral health.