With all kinds of conflicting health advice floating around, it’s hard to tell what’s true from what isn’t. Your oral health is no exception: you need to know how to take care of your teeth and gums to protect your smile, and brushing your teeth is your first line of defense against gum disease. But how often should you do it, and why is it so important? Dr. Datta Malyavantham and his team at Ridgetop Dental Group in Reston, VA are here to help you understand when to brush your teeth to keep your mouth healthy.
Why Should I Brush My Teeth?
Brushing your teeth is how you remove leftover food particles and cavity-causing bacteria. Our mouths are alive with bacteria. These living organisms concentrate at our gum line and between our teeth and form plaque. When we eat carbohydrate rich foods that are primarily sugar or starch, these mouth-dwelling bacteria break down the sugars and starches, creating acids. The acids bind to the plaque, weakening the enamel of our teeth.
When Should I Brush My Teeth?
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. It’s important to make brushing your teeth part of your regular routine, so most dentists recommend brushing when you wake up and again before bed. You’re less likely to forget, and this removes bacteria that accumulated overnight and the leftover food particles from the day.
You might think dentists would want you to brush after every meal, but there’s actually a reason not to do that. Acidic foods and drinks contain acids that weaken tooth enamel, and brushing too soon after consuming these can actually remove enamel. It’s best to wait a few hours before brushing your teeth if you know you’re going to be consuming acidic foods, or brush your teeth beforehand.
Keeping Your Oral Health in Check
In addition to brushing your teeth, the American Dental Association recommends that you:
- Floss daily
- Drink plenty of water, eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are irregular or frayed
- Schedule regular dental checkups
You should also keep regular appointments with Ridgetop Dental Group so we can work with you to keep your oral health in good condition. Regular dental check-ups will remove hardened plaque, make sure your enamel is staying strong, and identify any potential problems early. Contact us online or call us to schedule your appointment.