We are asked a lot of questions about brushing teeth every month in our dental clinic. Usually by parents hoping to pass the best information on to their children. It makes sense as good brushing habits can help to prevent tooth decay, along with many other oral hygiene issues as well.
By far the most common questions is “how often should I brush my teeth each day?”. Usually asked while the child is in earshot.
The most common answer that we provide is, for most people, your teeth should be brushed twice a day. And you should brush for about two minutes each time. Both of these points can be equally important in the long term health of a patients teeth. This is quite convenient because the most regular times that people to brush their teeth, is first thing in the morning after waking up, and shortly before going to bed at night.
As we mention above however, the brushing time should ideally be for around two minutes, preferably a little more. The reason we recommend this, is that it will often take a few minutes to remove all the plaque, which is one of the major reasons for brushing in the first place. f you brush for a shorter time than this, it will be difficult to do a good job of removing the plaque.
So you are not just an annoying parent for monitoring the amount of time your children spend brushing!
A study that was completed in 2009 stated that a lot of people only brush their teeth for around 45 seconds. When they increased the brushing time up to two minutes, these same people managed to remove over 26% more plaque, just from the extra brushing of their teeth.
Many dentists do recommend that brushing after each meal is ideal. However, this is not always practical with everyone's busy lifestyles. So, when are the best times to brush your teeth each day then?
Conveniently, it is In the morning and before bed at night. If you brush well before bed, it obviously gives you eight or so hours with a clean fresh mouth Not only this, brushing can form part of a routine that helps a lot of people prepare for bed, and helps them ensure a better nights sleep too.
When it comes to brushing in the morning, for most people there are really two choices. They are either before breakfast, or after breakfast.
If you brush very soon after eating, it can cause one problem, especially if you are eating acidic foods or drinks. These may include popular breakfast foods such as such as orange juice. Some acidic foods have the ability to soften the enamel layer on teeth. This makes the enamel more susceptible to damaged caused by brushing, especially if you are a strong brusher.
If you like to eat acidic breakfasts, then brushing beforehand might be a better option for you. Another choice is to wait an hour or so after breakfast before brushing. We understand however, that might not be possible as you are off to work and school drops offs and all the rest.
Just as important as how often you brush, is “how you brush”. This will be discussed in different blog posts on our website in the future.
Getting the frequency right, and mastering some brushing techniques, along with regular dental check ups, will give you the best chance of maintaining healthy teeth and gums for a long time to come.
All of this information is of a general nature. As everybody is different, so too, every body is different. This includes your teeth. If you would like personal dental advice, it is always best to visit a dentist near you, such as our dental clinic in Sippy Downs.