Answers to All Your Toothbrushing Questions

Most people agree that brushing your teeth is one of the best ways to protect your smile. But that’s just about all they agree on. Most of us are in different camps when it comes to how often and how long you need to brush, whether to brush after every meal, and even what time of day is best for toothbrushing. Luckily we have the answers to all your toothbrushing questions right here. Let’s dive in.

How long should I brush my teeth?

Two minutes (twice a day) is the recommended duration from the American Dental Association. However, on average most people brush their teeth for 45 seconds or less! This is not even close to enough time to adequately remove plaque buildup from the teeth and gum tissue, much less allow the fluoride in your toothpaste to attach itself to the enamel like it’s designed. On the other hand, brushing longer than 2 minutes can irritate gum tissue and even slowly wear away the enamel at your gumline. So as you brush your teeth, set a timer or play a 2-minute song—your teeth will thank you for it.

How often should you brush your teeth?

Just as brushing too long isn’t good for your oral health, brushing too frequently doesn’t help things either. Dentists recommend brushing twice a day for a reason. Continued overzealous brushing may lead to oral health problems like dental abrasion, tooth sensitivity, and gum recession. If you’re looking for a dazzling white smile, you’ll get better results with regular dental cleanings from a professional dental team. They have the right instruments, equipment, and experience to clean your teeth without harming your hard and soft tissues and overall oral health.

When should I brush my teeth?

While it’s important that you brush your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day, it’s equally important that you brush at the right times. The twice-a-day rule doesn’t say anything about time, so how do you know when to brush your teeth? Most dentists recommend brushing sometime in the morning hours and then right before bed because of the way saliva production works. When you’re awake, saliva works to remove any leftovers and bacteria from your mouth, keeping your oral health in check. Saliva production decreases drastically when you go to sleep. Brushing before prevents you from leaving bacteria and their food source in your mouth for a long period of time.

Should I brush my teeth after every meal?

We always encourage you to brush your teeth after each meal. Brushing helps remove leftover food particles that can lead to an increase in harmful bacteria. This is important because that same harmful bacteria is what contributes to tooth decay and gum disease. However, you can’t always get away to brush after every single meal. Sometimes you’re eating on the go, at your office desk, or even during a ZOOM class, and there’s just no convenient way to step out and brush. Luckily chewing sugarless gum or swishing with water can help remove some of the plaque from your teeth and gums. And if you happen to have some pocket flossers, you can always use those to clean your teeth anywhere, anytime.

How soon should I brush my teeth after eating?

Most people are surprised by this, but brushing your teeth right after eating is actually not ideal at all. Even though the minty fresh taste makes your mouth feel good and clean after a particularly flavorful meal, it leads your teeth and gums down a precarious path. After you eat, food particles and bacteria leave behind acids that soften enamel, the hard outer layer of your teeth. Saliva doesn’t have time to neutralize this acid if you brush immediately after eating, and the abrasive bristles of the brush can eventually wear away the protective surface of the teeth. We recommend you wait at least 30 minutes after eating to allow saliva to do its job and give your enamel time to harden back up.

How can I perfect my oral care habits?

With lots of practice and a little help from us, of course! Keep to the two-minute-twice-a-day toothbrushing rule. Wait at least 30 minutes after meals before brushing. And if you can’t get away to brush, chew sugarless gum or rinse your mouth with water. Most of all schedule dental appointments with your dental team. Regular checkups and professional cleanings will help you keep your teeth free of hardened debris and detect any oral issues before they can get out of hand. Comprehensive oral evaluations also allow us to offer more customized recommendations on what changes you can make in your dental routine to maintain your best oral health. Happy smiling, everyone!

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