Dentists give honest answers to 11 most important questions
You may think you already know everything about brushing teeth. But there are still some secrets to uncover…
1. Why should you brush your teeth everyday?
To avoid plaque build-up – the sticky film of bacteria that constantly grows on teeth. Some of the waste products, produced by this type of bacteria, cause irritation and gum disease. Besides, these microorganisms convert sugar to acids. This can cause tooth enamel erosion. And finally, substances, produced by this certain bacteria, have an extremely unpleasant smell.
2. Should you use a manual or an electric toothbrush?
Many believe that electric toothbrushes were created for lazy people. It may be so, but here are the results of a three months’ research that has been done by British dentists: compared to a regular manual toothbrush, an electric toothbrush is 21% more effective in reducing plaque and 11% more effective in reducing gum inflammation.
3. When and how often should you brush your teeth?
At least twice a day (both children and adults) – certainly in the morning and before you go to bed. The only question – before or after breakfast? “It depends on what you have for breakfast” – says the director of King’s College London Dental Institute. If you eat for breakfast fruit juice or fresh fruit, it is better not to brush your teeth right after eating. Why? Acids in fruits soften the tooth enamel and you can brush essential minerals out of it.
4. How long should you brush your teeth?
The average time – 2 minutes each time. But, in fact, it depends on each concrete person. You can choose your own tempo and technique that suit you best. Perhaps, you need 1.5 minutes while some people need 5 minutes.
5. What is the best toothpaste?
The most important ingredient in toothpaste is fluoride (fluorine compounds) that fights tooth decay. Besides, fluoride helps to replenish the lost minerals in your teeth. Therefore, you should pay attention to the concentration of fluoride when picking toothpaste: should be no less than 1350 and no more than 1500 ppm (an abbreviation of parts per million). Or in percentages: 0,13 – 0,15%.
6. Should you rinse your mouth after brushing teeth?
No, you shouldn’t do this! If you don’t rinse, toothpaste will protect your teeth for longer period of time.
7. Do you need to use mouthwash?
If you follow the rules and brush your teeth two or three times a day, you don’t need to use mouthwash. There is also no need to use mouthwash immediately after brushing teeth: this procedure is completely useless for dental health!
8. What about flossing?
Dental plaque forms not only on the surface of teeth, but also in the interdental spaces. It is hard to remove plaque between teeth with toothbrush, so you need to floss (or to use a special interdental brush). If you don’t pay attention to the interdental spaces, than you are at greater risk to get gum disease. One of the earliest signs of it – bleeding during brushing (however, in most cases, the blood appears simply because of assiduous friction).
9. Can chewing gum be good for your teeth?
Rather yes, if it contains no sugar and xylitol. First, chewing gum helps stimulate salivary flow rate that prevents acid erosion in teeth. Second, chewing gum removes leftover food particles from your mouth. And, finally, bacteria “like” xylitol (a low-calorie sweetener) more than sugar. It means they produce less harmful acids from it.
10. Should you clean your tongue?
Consult your physician if you cannot get to know whether you really need to do this? Actually, there is no “common rule of thumb”. If you think you should clean your tongue, choose a toothbrush with special tongue cleaner on the back of the head or buy extra-soft bristle brush. And, please, clean your tongue without fanaticism!
11. How often do you have to go to the dentist?
If your gums are healthy and you have no problems with your teeth, you can visit the dentist every two years.
Children and youths under 18 years old can check their dental health once a year.