Everybody knows that there is simple dental advice like, brush twice daily and don’t eat too much sugar. So why do those who seem to follow these instructions find that they sometimes need a filling when visiting the dentist? The truth is, there’s a little more to preventing tooth decay than the simplest guidelines. Maybe it is about your tooth brushing technique. Here are four tips for those who might be brushing their teeth wrong.
1. Brush up on Your Brushing Skills
How you brush makes a huge difference. The act of teeth brushing removes the very sticky dental plaque. That mixture of bacteria, their acids and sticky byproducts and food remnants.
Bacteria consume sugar and produce acids which dissolve the minerals out of the teeth, leaving microscopic holes one just can’t see. If the process isn’t stopped and isn’t repaired, can become big, visible cavities.
Taking two minutes to brush your teeth is a good target for removing plaque. You should brush once at night and one other time in the course of the day. Brushing frequently stops the bacteria developing to a stage where the species which produce the most acid can become established.
Electric toothbrushes can be more effective than manual brushing and a small toothbrush head helps to reach awkward areas in the mouth, while medium-textured bristles help you clean effectively without causing harm to gums and teeth. The main thing, however, is to get brushing! It doesn’t matter what you prefer. Just do it!
2. Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Most of the benefits from brushing your teeth comes from the toothpaste. The key ingredient being fluoride. Evidence shows that fluoride prevents tooth decay. Fluoride replaces lost minerals in teeth and also makes them stronger.
For maximum benefit, use toothpaste with 1350-1500 ppmF (that’s concentration of fluoride in parts per million) to prevent tooth decay.
Check your toothpaste’s fluoride concentration by reading the ingredients on the back of the tube.
Keep in mind that not all children’s toothpastes are strong enough for them to gain maximum benefit. Your dentist may prescribe higher strength fluoride toothpaste based on their assessment of your or your child’s risk of tooth decay.
3. Spit…Don’t Rinse
At night, you produce less saliva than during the day. Because of this, your teeth have less protection from saliva and are more vulnerable to acid attacks.
This is why it is so important to remove food from your teeth before bed so plaque bacteria can’t feast overnight. This is more important than any daytime brushing or rinsing. Don’t eat or drink anything except water after brushing at night. This also gives fluoride the longest opportunity to work.
Once you’ve brushed, don’t rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash. You are actually washing away the fluoride! This can be a difficult habit to break, but can reduce tooth decay by up to 25%.
4. Four ‘Sugar Hits’ Daily
Natural sugars are found in foods like fruit and they are far less likely to cause tooth decay than added or free sugars like we see in candy and sodas. Free sugars are generally those added to foods by manufacturers but also include honey, syrup and fruit juices.
These are all easy for bacteria to consume, metabolize and produce acids from. HOn the other side, it can be difficult to tell which are the worst sugars for teeth. Although normal amounts of fruit are fine, fruit juices have bad sugars and heavy consumption can cause decay.
The World Health Organization and NHS recommend free sugars should ideally make up less than 5% of your daily calorie intake. For adults and children over 11 years old, this is around 30g (eight teaspoons) of sugar daily.
A can of Coca-Cola alone has 35g of sugar!
Although not as important as how much sugar, how often you eat sugar also greatly matters. Simple carbohydrates like sugar are easier for bacteria to digest than proteins or complex carbohydrates. Bacteria produce acids after they metabolize sugar which causes demineralization.
Fortunately, through the actions of fluoride toothpaste and the remineralizing effects of saliva, your teeth can recover from the early stages of these attacks.
Typically, your teeth can be exposed to four “sugar hits”. These are episodes of sugar intake daily without irreversible damage to the teeth. Try counting how many sugary hits you have in a day. This includes biscuits, cups of sugary tea or coffee and other snacks with refined carbohydrates. A simple way of cutting down would be to stop putting sugar in hot drinks and limiting snacking.
Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, spit don’t rinse, eat and drink nothing after brushing, and don’t have sugar more than four times daily. Easy!
These tips are great and Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg who cares for his patients unlike any other dentist in South Florida, primarily the Plantation area, completely agrees. He has the best x-ray equipment you can possibly get photos created by. Whether you are getting extensive work done like a root canal, Invisalign, crowns, or full dentures, or lighter work such as whitening, fillings, or preventative oral care, this is your dentist’s office.
Dr. Rosenberg is a Miami, Florida native who received his undergrad degree from Emory University and got his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Georgetown University Dental School. He has been in private practice for over 20 years. Dr. Rosenberg is President-Elect of the Broward County Dental Association. He is Vice President of the Broward Dental Research Clinic where has been on the board of directors for five years. He is a member of the Intracoastal Study Club. Professional memberships include the American Dental Association, the Florida Dental Association, the Atlantic Coast District Dental Association, and the Broward County Dental Association.