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Smiles at Fairfax Corner
4210 Fairfax Corner Ave W, Ste 220, Fairfax, VA 22030

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Brushing Up on the Benefits of Brushing

Do you want your pearly whites to stay nice, healthy and strong? Well, to make that happen, you have to brush and floss properly. Unfortunately, many of us don’t brush twice a day for two minutes or floss at least once daily. Either we don’t understand the importance or we never learned how to take care of our teeth the right way. Even those of us who learned proper dental care get busy and neglect to brush and floss at times. This friendly reminder can help you get back on track. Getting back on track can help prevent the need for extensive and invasive dental procedures in the future.

Why Is a Good Oral Care Routine at Home Important?

When you brush your teeth twice a day, you remove bacteria, which can make your breath smell bad and cause cavities. Brushing and flossing doesn’t just protect your teeth, it also keeps your gums healthy. If you were to develop gum disease, it can affect your overall health as well. Advanced gum disease can increase your risk of having a heart attack, stroke or developing pneumonia. Toothbrushing has so many benefits and it’s so easy and inexpensive that it makes an excellent investment in yourself.

Why Is Plaque Harmful to My Teeth and Gums?

Plaque is a film of sticky bacteria that accumulates in your mouth all day long. The bacteria attracts sugar and food debris, creating an acid that damages tooth enamel. It creates cavities which you need to have filled to prevent the hole caused by decay from getting larger. Brushing and flossing is the best way to keep plaque from accumulating, but some adults don’t remove plaque frequently enough. More than 30 percent of adults have at least one untreated cavity in their mouth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Plaque will eventually harden into tarter, which you can’t remove with a professional teeth cleaning. Tarter irritates the gums, initially causing gingivitis. Gingivitis symptoms include bleeding gums during brushing, and your gums may look red and swollen all the time. Gingivitis treatment is essential since the early stage of gum disease can progress to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a more damaging form of gum disease that can damage the tissues, ligaments and bone holding your teeth in your mouth. The teeth will loosen without treatment and it is very possible you will lose them. Periodontitis is also an infection that can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses.

What Does Effective Toothbrushing Look Like?

Effective toothbrushing and regular flossing freshens your breath and removes plaque to keep your teeth clean and healthy.

Using the Proper Toothbrush

Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles of varying heights. Hard bristles may sound like they would clean better, but they can damage your teeth and gums. The bristles should bend to reach in small spaces, but you shouldn’t be squishing your toothbrush against your teeth. A toothbrush will last about three to four months before the bristles start to fray and you need to replace it. If you bought a toothbrush with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance and it starts to fray within a few weeks, you’re probably applying too much pressure when you brush.

An electric toothbrush isn’t necessary, but if you have trouble holding a manual toothbrush, it may be an ideal solution. Many electric toothbrushes come with timers to make sure you brush for a full two minutes. You will need to replace the head every three to four months, just like you would replace your manual toothbrush.

Brush in a Circular, Organized Pattern

Many people divide their mouth into four parts; the top and bottom of each side of their mouth. This way, they can brush each quadrant for thirty seconds and make sure they don’t miss any teeth. Dentists suggest holding your toothbrush at an angle, pointing upward toward your gums. Brush the front and backs of your teeth using small circles, not a back-and-forth motion, using gentle pressure. For the chewing surfaces of your teeth, brush using a back-and-forth motion. You should also gently brush your tongue to remove bacteria and help keep your breath fresh.

Always Use Fluoride Toothpaste

Fluoride will help prevent cavities in adults as well as children. When you are finished brushing, spit out excess toothpaste, but don’t rinse with water. Leaving some toothpaste on your teeth will help strengthen them. There are natural fluoride-free toothpastes on the market that cater to consumer’s fear of fluoride. Actually, it’s a naturally occurring mineral found in nature and has proven time and time again to strengthen teeth.

Flossing

We don’t like to floss; only 25 percent of us floss daily. According to a study by the American Academy of Periodontology, more than 33 percent of us would rather do an unpleasant task, like washing dishes, than floss our teeth. Flossing is absolutely necessary, but you don’t have to use string floss if it’s uncomfortable. You can use a Waterpik or ask your dentist what he or she recommends. There are many options to remove plaque from between your teeth.

Mouthwash

Mouthwash can’t replace brushing or flossing, but it can be a refreshing part of your oral care routine. You can choose to use mouthwash to leave your mouth tingly fresh or your dentist may recommend one that reduces plaque or adds extra fluoride. If you choose a mouthwash for therapeutic reasons, look for one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance to make sure the product you buy is safe to use and works as promised.

Brushing Up on Better Brushing

Keeping your mouth healthy isn’t difficult. Pay attention to your brushing habits and see your dentist for regular checkups and professional teeth cleanings. Having a nice smile for life isn’t just a dream, it is an achievable goal.

One last tip to help you keep your teeth in prime condition is to find a dental team that you trust and build a long-term relationship with them. It helps to have a trusted dental partner in your corner to help spot issues before they become expensive and invasive. Ideally, you trust your dentist to help you make the right decisions no matter your condition. If you’re looking for a new partner in your dental health, give us a call today.

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