Home care is equally important to visiting the dentist twice a year. Brushing and flossing are the most important daily habits to good oral hygiene. Proper brushing and flossing not only protect the teeth and gums from disease but also reduce the bacteria that may lead to other diseases in the body.
The Benefits of Brushing
The purpose of brushing is to remove food particles from your teeth. When food decomposes in your mouth, it nourishes dangerous bacteria. These bacteria cause several unpleasant problems that lead to painful tooth decay and other serious conditions.
Proper brushing and flossing are essential for prevention of:
- Staining: Certain foods, and especially beverages such as tea, can stain your teeth
- Bad Breath: (halitosis): Bad breath is not only unpleasant, but it can also indicate serious health problems
- Decay: Bacteria can break down the protective enamel on teeth, which leads to decay. Tooth decay leads to cavities, and cavities lead to infection when left untreated
- Periodontal disease: Keeping gums healthy through regular brushing and flossing prevents periodontal disease, which can be painful and also uncomfortable to treat
The Right Way to Brush
You should plan to brush at least twice a day or after each meal. The proper toothbrush should be small with soft, rounded bristles and should ideally be changed every 3-4 months. There are also various types of electrical toothbrushes that have received The American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. You may also consider using a specialty tongue brush that’s designed to clean the surface of the tongue better than a regular toothbrush.
If you choose an electric toothbrush, focus on the area where the gums meet the teeth. Also, don’t forget to brush your tongue — a large percentage of bacteria live there.