Brushing Right Can Save Your Life
Old News, Bad News
Although most people are aware of the reasons behind proper, daily tooth brushing, few people realize that clean teeth and healthy gums can protect against a wide variety of other general, even life-threatening, health problems! When you do not brush, your mouth’s normal population of bacteria multiplies on your teeth and gums, depositing a sticky plaque substance. This plaque mixes with the sugars and food debris, forms a strong acid substance, and eats away at your enamel…hence, decay. Over time, the decay works its way into your tooth’s inner layers, causing further destruction. Meanwhile, the outer tooth plaque build-up irritates your gums, causing them to bleed and pull away from the teeth, expose the sensitive tooth root structure, and create periodontal pockets. These, in turn, irritate and destroy the actual bone responsible for holding your teeth in position. Finally, chronic gum disease also breaks down the protective barrier between oral bacteria and your blood stream. This allows bacteria to enter your blood stream and increases your risk for a whole host of systemic problems like heart disease, stroke, respiratory illness, diabetes, and pregnancy complications.
Good News You Can Use
You can control your oral health by simply establishing a solid habit of brushing twice daily with a soft toothbrush using the proper technique and a quality fluoride toothpaste, as well as flossing carefully each day. What’s the best brushing technique? Of course, it depends a lot on your personal dentition. Generally, you should spend at least 3-4 minutes each session, brushing with a small, angled brush in little, circular motions across all your tooth surfaces and where your tooth and gum meet. Cover 2-3 teeth at a time, applying gentle, firm pressure, and avoid any gum-damaging scrubbing motions. For an even more thorough brushing, consider purchasing an electric toothbrush. After brushing your teeth, remember to brush or scrape your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh. Finally, rinse your entire mouth with water and spit out the debris. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, so that the bristles remain effectively positioned and you do not harbor harmful bacteria in the old brush.