Dental experts recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. But you may wonder, “Is just brushing my teeth enough to keep my teeth healthy? What about flossing? Or mouthwash? Is there anything else I should do?”
Penn Dental Medicine separates fact from fiction about how to keep not just your teeth but your whole mouth healthy, with some information for you to sink your teeth into.
Brushing your teeth is only the first step toward good dental health. It helps remove plaque, the enemy of good dental health, and that’s important. Plaque is the sticky film that forms on teeth when saliva and leftover food particles mix with bacteria in your mouth. When plaque builds up, it turns into tartar after several days.
Tartar forms underneath and at the gum line and can cause swollen gums that bleed easily. Tartar also discolors with yellowish stains. Once plaque turns into tartar, it can eat away at the enamel on your teeth and can cause gum disease, cavities, and even tooth loss. Unfortunately, at this point, tartar is not easily removed from teeth. It needs to be scraped off by a dental professional.
Brushing your teeth can help keep plaque from building up and turning into tartar—to a point. But most people don’t brush for two minutes each time. Instead, the average time is only 45-70 seconds per day. In addition, brushing your teeth doesn’t reach the plaque that accumulates between teeth and causes damage. So what are your options to safeguard your teeth and give you great oral health? It all comes down to knowing how to clean your mouth.
1. Follow the 2/2 rule.
As mentioned earlier, start with brushing your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes each time.
2. Floss once a day to clean those hard-to-reach areas between teeth.
The importance of flossing can’t be overstated because it removes the plaque that your brush can’t reach.
3. Use antibacterial mouthwash after brushing and flossing.
4. Drink water. Water isn’t just good for keeping you hydrated—it also flushes away food particles and can help keep teeth clean between brushing.
5. Stay away from sugary snacks. These convert to acid in your mouth and can wear away at the enamel on your teeth.
6. Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables that help remove plaque buildup.
7. Visit your dentist twice a year. You should have a cleaning to remove any plaque and tartar buildup and an exam t make sure your teeth and gums are in good shape.
So, “Is it enough just brushing my teeth?” Well, it’s a good start. But the fact is, you need to do more—and we can help. Your smile is in good hands at Penn Dental Medicine. We’ve offered high-quality, affordably priced dental care to our Philadelphia neighbors for over 150 years through our unique faculty-student arrangement. It gives you access to the best current and future dentists in the area.
We’ll make sure that you’re on the right path to great oral health through our cleanings and exams, and that you know exactly what you need to do to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
To schedule your appointment, just call our office at 215-898-8965. Then, take a moment to download our evidence-based checklist for what makes Penn Dental Medicine statistically unique. It’s the perfect resource to explain everything you want to know about us before your visit.