We have heard all of our lives that it is imperative to brush your teeth twice a day. While many of us have created a habit of this practice (which is an excellent thing), we are still left to wonder if it is absolutely necessary. What would happen if we didn’t brush our teeth twice a day? Is brushing twice your teeth twice a day overkill? Why is twice a day brushing so important anyway? Today, we are going to answer all of these questions and more.
Do you really need to brush your teeth twice a day? The short answer is yes. It is important to brush your teeth twice a day. Brushing once in the morning and again in the evening before bed is the best way to maintain proper oral hygiene. Several dentists even recommend brushing after each meal.
Brushing twice a day is not just another arbitrary thing to add to your already busy schedule. There is a purpose behind your dentist recommending that you brush your teeth at least once in the morning and once in the evening. There can be severe consequences to both your oral and physical health if you fail to do so.
What will happen if I don’t brush twice a day?
Brushing your teeth is a crucial part of proper oral hygiene. In fact, it is likely the one step that will impact the longevity of your teeth the most. With this in mind, it is important to give your teeth and gums the attention they deserve.
By brushing your teeth, you remove food debris and plaque that is beginning to form on the surface of your teeth. Plaque is formed by both bacteria and sugars that adhere to your teeth. If you fail to remove the plaque by brushing (as well as routine visits to the dentist), it will harden into tartar. Tartar forms on the lower portion of your teeth around your gum line and is usually a brown or yellow color. This is what causes your teeth to look unclean and can only be remedied by a visit to the dentist for deep cleaning.
Failure to brush your teeth daily will eventually lead to problems such as tooth decay and loss, gum disease, cavities, staining, and various other health problems.
What are the other benefits of brushing your teeth twice a day?
The health and wellbeing of your teeth themselves aren’t the only benefits to brushing your teeth twice a day! There are several other reasons why it is important to brush your teeth. Some of these benefits are listed below:
- Preventing bad breath is one of the most important reasons to brush your teeth twice a day. Bad breath (also called halitosis) is caused by food debris and bacteria that build up in the mouth. As you brush your teeth, your tongue is also cleaned. This creates fresh breath that won’t become suddenly embarrassing.
- Maintaining your bright, white smile is another reason to brush your teeth twice a day! Your smile and teeth are some of the first things that people notice about you. Brushing your teeth properly helps to remove some of the staining that is created by eating or drinking. If left untouched, this staining may eventually require professional teeth whitening services which can get expensive quickly.
- Brushing your teeth can also have an impact on your physical health! Failing to brush your teeth will eventually lead to gum disease caused by bacteria entering the gums. This bacteria can then travel through your body wreaking havoc on many systems throughout your body.
Why is brushing my teeth once a day not good enough?
There is good reasoning behind brushing your teeth twice a day. Dentists recommend that you brush in the morning to remove the plaque that has been sitting undisturbed on your teeth overnight. This plaque can become tartar or cause other oral health issues.
There is also a purpose behind brushing your teeth in the evening after you finish consuming food or drink for the day. It is important to remove any food debris that has been left in your teeth from the day. Another reason to brush your teeth in the evening is to remove any of the sugars or bacteria that are sitting on your teeth. Failing to brush your teeth at night will mean that the sugars and bacteria will be sitting on your teeth undisturbed until the morning. This can cause cavities to form which will lead to a pricey visit to the dentist.
However, keep in mind that brushing your teeth once a day is better than not brushing at all. If for some reason you are unable to brush twice a day, most dentists recommend that you brush once in the evening right before bed. Consider using brushing alternatives such as dental floss, mouthwash, or even sugar-free gum to help remove the plaque between brushings.
Can you brush your teeth too much?
While it is important to keep your teeth clean, it is possible to brush your teeth too much! Over brushing can wear down the enamel (otherwise known as the outer layer of your teeth.) Worn down enamel will cause sensitive teeth and receding gums!
Receding gums play a prominent role in the development of periodontal (gum) disease. The gums are designed to protect the tooth and bone structure which lies underneath. Receding gums pose a potential hazard as that protection is compromised.
Sensitive teeth may not seem like that big of an issue. However, the extreme sensitivity of the teeth may create problems when your teeth come in contact with both hot and cold items. Tooth sensitivity can be extremely frustrating and most certainly is something you should avoid when possible.
Contrary to what you may think, aggressive brushing won’t remove plaque any more effectively than light brushing will. The key to good brushing is in practicing the proper technique, which we will cover in depth later in this article.
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What is the proper technique for brushing my teeth?
While brushing your teeth twice a day is important, it’s just as important that you practice proper tooth brushing technique during those times. The American Dental Association offers several recommendations for how to practice proper brushing techniques:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. It is helpful to either purchase an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer or use a stopwatch to time your brushing.
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid damaging the enamel on your teeth. A brush with soft bristles will clean your teeth just as well as one with more firm bristles. In addition, a soft bristled brush is much easier on your gums.
- Replace your toothbrush once every 3 months. Doing so will prevent excessive bacteria from building up and causing damage to both your teeth and gums. It is also recommended that you purchase a new toothbrush any time the bristles begin to fray or after you recover from any illness.
- Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gum line to remove plaque effectively without damaging your gums.
- Be sure to brush ALL surfaces of your teeth, including those which are harder to reach. Hard to reach areas are the most likely to form a cavity so it is important to clean them thoroughly.
If you are concerned that you are not practicing proper tooth brushing technique, call your local dentist! They will be able to observe your brushing technique in person and offer you suggestions on how to improve it.
How often should I go to the dentist? It is important to visit the dentist twice a year, or every six months. During your bi-annual visit, your dentist will clean your teeth as well as examine them thoroughly. Avoiding the dentist will result in eventual tooth decay, gum disease, and even undetected oral concerns! It is important to take proper care of both your teeth and gums.
Is flossing actually important? Yes! It is important to floss your teeth once each day. Dentists recommend doing so either before or after brushing your teeth each evening. Flossing is an important part of practicing oral hygiene as it is the best way to remove food debris that is stuck between your teeth. There are alternatives for individuals that are not able to floss due to a medical or dental condition. Your dentist will be able to advise you as to the method that is best for your situation.
Do I need to use mouthwash? Mouthwash is the best way to clean those spots in your mouth that are impossible to reach. Along with creating fresh breath, mouthwash offers many other benefits that are often overlooked! One of the primary reasons to add mouthwash into your routine is that it is able to clean under your gum line, something that both brushing and flossing are incapable of. There are many types of mouthwash and you may have to try several before finding one that is best for you. Ask your doctor for recommendations during your next visit!
You can learn more about proper brushing habits here.