People have understood the importance of oral hygiene for a very long time. Archeologists uncovered toothbrushes, recognizable even by modern standards, dating back to the 10th century in China. Even before then, ancient cultures used chew sticks to clean their teeth.
In the United States today, the American Dental Association recommends you brush your teeth at least twice a day. Toothbrushes with soft bristles are generally recommended to the majority of people.
Hopefully, you’ve been brushing your teeth your whole life, but you may still have some questions about why we do it and what the best practices are. Here are the answers to some of the more common questions we see about brushing your teeth!
Brushing is a part of everyone’s routine but have you ever stopped to wonder why we brush?
Throughout the day, your teeth become covered with a filmy substance that turns into plaque if left undisturbed. This process can happen very quickly, and even more quickly if your diet is high in sugars and simple carbohydrates that rapidly break down into simple sugars.
Unchecked plaque can lead to gum disease and cavities. While these can cause pain and an unattractive smile, poor oral hygiene can also have negative impacts throughout your entire body. Better to just brush for a minute or two every morning and night so you don’t have to worry about it!
Can Changing Your Diet Eliminate the Need for Brushing?
Avoiding foods that are high in sugars, particularly sugary snacks between meals, can have a positive impact on your dental hygiene.
However, even common foods that can be quite healthy, e.g. rice and/or bread, become sugars when they begin to break down. Fruits and even many vegetables are high in sugar so there’s no realistic, healthful way to avoid sugar.
Even if you could cut out sugar from your diet, your teeth would still be vulnerable to plaque over time. It’s a lot easier to simply eat what you want and make sure to brush a couple of times every day.
What If You Brush More Than Twice A Day?
Brushing your teeth too much can have some negative impacts on your oral hygiene, particularly if you don’t brush gently. The abrasion on your gums caused by brushing is minimal but if you brush several times throughout the day, every day, it can begin to add up to cause receding gum lines.
The good news is, this means you don’t have to worry about brushing your teeth all the time! Once in the morning and once before you go to bed is all that most people need to do to stay healthy. Raleigh Family Dentist Brett Wells feels that brushing more than twice a day has become a thing of the past. Several years ago there was a push to brush after every single meal, but we rarely hear of that in 2018 and beyond.