There are many steps to proper oral health care. Brushing, flossing, rinsing with a fluoride or anti-microbial mouthwash are all important steps in taking care of your teeth. Brushing your teeth is the single most important move you can make in protecting your teeth. You probably know the correct procedure for brushing, but may be confused as to how often you should do it. To answer this question, we’ll look at what happens when you eat or drink and what this means for your tooth health.
When you eat or drink something with carbohydrates, the bacteria that naturally live in your mouth form a thin film on your teeth. This film is called plaque, and if it is left alone to sit on your teeth, it will release acid which over time can erode your teeth and cause cavities. Removing this layer of bacteria is essential to maintaining your dental health. Brushing and flossing remove the bacteria on your teeth, preventing it from having a chance to release acid.
But how often exactly should you brush? Anytime you eat carbohydrates, the bacteria in your mouth release acid, so ideally, you should brush after every meal. Opinions vary, but many dentists recommend waiting 30 minutes after eating before brushing. This wait time is because the teeth are most vulnerable to erosion right after eating. Brushing before 30 minutes has passed could actually damage your teeth. Of course, it may not be practical for you to brush after every meal. If that’s the case, then at a minimum you should brush twice a day. Follow up at least one brushing with a complete flossing, and consider using a fluoride or anti-microbial mouthwash. You should especially brush thoroughly after eating or drinking anything that is highly acidic, as the acid will harm your teeth. In this case, be sure to rinse with water afterwards to wash the residual acid off your teeth.
Good brushing habits will contribute greatly to your overall dental health. But brushing and flossing are only part of the solution to tooth decay. Be sure to visit your dentist at least twice a year. Community Dental Group is here to serve your oral health care needs. We proudly serve the greater Los Angeles area, specifically Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park and Westlake village. We look forward to caring for you and your family.