Most dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day—once in the morning and once before you go to bed at night. Some even recommend brushing after meals, but we think that at a minimum, twice a day is sufficient.
We know that brushing first thing in the morning starts the day off right. Get rid of that morning breath!
But why is it important to brush at night?
Throughout the day, we eat and drink. And when we do, our mouth creates bacteria that naturally help to break down the foods we ingest. What you may not know is that bacteria are living organisms, and as such, put out highly-acidic waste that, if left to accumulate, will erode tooth enamel.
Plaque is the soft and sticky film that contains millions of bacteria and sugars and can lead to infection of the gums, gum bleeding, swollen gums and bad breath. Any sign of infection sets off alarms within the body, and the immune system will leap into action, killing off both bacteria and healthy tissue that holds teeth in place, leading to gum recession.
In addition, when unremoved plaque builds up on your teeth, it hardens into tartar. Left unattended by flossing and brushing, it is the main cause of cavities and gum disease. Once calcified, it can only be removed by a dentist through a professional cleaning.
Bacteria is never 100% removed. Even after brushing, some healthy bacteria remain and begin to regrow. If you don’t brush at night, growth accumulates faster into unhealthy colonies within your mouth.
While you sleep, your body regenerates. So do your teeth. They use this time to remineralize. When interrupted by plaque and tartar, the process is impeded.
Even Children Need to Brush Before Bedtime
Cavities, known as caries, can occur in children from the time their first tooth appears. Be careful not to put a child to bed with a bottle containing juice or milk. This can accelerate tooth decay in children. To protect their teeth for a lifetime, ensure that your children adopt healthy brushing habits from the start.
What’s the Proper Amount of Time to Brush?
Dentists recommend that proper tooth brushing last at least two minutes. Some electronic toothbrushes come with a timer that can help you brush for the recommended amount. Flossing between teeth should also be included with each tooth brushing session.
Be careful not to scrub your teeth in a sawing motion with a hard toothbrush. This will erode the gums. Instead, place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and gently wiggle the brush against each surface of the tooth. Allow the bristles to work their way to the gumline and around the sides of each tooth to eliminate food between teeth.
Contact EverSmile Dentistry
At EverSmile Dentistry, we work with patients from the time they have their first tooth and often demonstrate the correct way of brushing to “kids” of all ages. We’ll be glad to show you how too.
If you live in the Northern Virginia or Sterling area, we’d love to have you as a patient. Please contact us today to schedule your appointment.