You think you know Brushing

Not another dental blog about brushing!  Everybody thinks they know everything about brushing.  What else can anyone say about this topic that hasn’t been said before? Use toothpaste, brush regularly, and don’t forget to floss.  In a nut-shell, that’s Oral Care 101.  It’s not rocket science.  That said, every day we see patients who use improper brushing techniques. This week’s post focuses on the fundamentals of brushing your teeth because its worth repeating: frequency matters and don’t forget to brush your gums!

One of the most common questions we hear is “do I need to brush twice every day?”  Some people have very strong teeth and don’t eat a lot of sugar. These people don’t drink pop or coffee and when they brush well, they also floss. They have genetics and lifestyle on their side. But look at it this way: if you believe in a higher power do you still lock your car door? That’s the message we try to convey to every patient. If you follow proper brushing techniques, a second brushing session only helps your oral hygiene. The thing is, today you may have good oral health but you might have a predisposition to tooth decay or gingivitis. By getting in the habit of brushing twice a day, even when you don’t have a problem, your best offense (brushing) can also be your defense.

It is not uncommon to see people with healthy teeth but gums that are in terrible condition. This happens for two main reasons: neglect in brushing the gums and/or improper gum brushing technique.  The importance of healthy gums can’t be understated.  One major mistake we see is that people use a hard toothbrush. All you really need for a healthy mouth is a soft bristle brush, a proper 45° angle and two full minutes. Oh, and don’t forget the floss.

If 10% of our patients took this approach to brushing teeth, the dental hygienist would spend less time cleaning and the dentist would fill fewer cavities. A healthy mouth saves you time and money. If you have very healthy teeth and only brush once a day, take the extra 2 to 4 minutes for that second round of brushing – the benefits can’t be understated. Pay close attention to your gums. You can tell if you’re using proper technique when brushing your gums is pain-free. Go slow, be gentle, and be thorough. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to talk to your dentist, dental assistant and hygienist. They are there to help you keep that mouth healthy and happy.

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