Brushing your teeth may seem like a simple task, but because it is one of the most important aspects of oral hygiene, Des Moines dentist Dr. Jessica Johnson of Valley Ridge Family Dental wants to clue you in on some brushing basics that can enhance your overall oral health.
The Best Brush for Your Buck
When it comes to buying a toothbrush, you may reach for one in your favorite color and continue shopping. However, there are certain factors that you should consider when purchasing a toothbrush. Try to find a brush with soft bristles. If the bristles are hard and abrasive, they could permanently damage your tooth enamel. Aggressive brushing with hard bristles can lead to tooth sensitivity. Also, choose a toothbrush with a relatively small head so that you can comfortably clean every area of your mouth, including those hard-to-reach teeth in the back. If you have arthritis or another problem that makes brushing difficult, opt for a battery-powered brush.
Replace Your Brush Regularly
You should purchase a new toothbrush about every three months, or when the bristles begin to fray, whichever comes first. You should also replace your toothbrush after an illness, to avoid recontaminating yourself.
Brush for Two Minutes, Two Times a Day
When you brush your teeth, allow enough time to to a thorough job. Usually, a good, effective cleaning takes about two minutes. Electric toothbrushes with a timer encourage brushing for the proper amount of time. To teach children to brush for two minutes, hum “The Alphabet Song” during your daily oral hygiene practice. This song is about two minutes long.
Use a Fluoridated Toothpaste
Finding the right toothpaste can seem overwhelming when you see shelves and shelves of options at the drug store. However, there is one key ingredient that you should look for when choosing a toothpaste: fluoride. This naturally occurring mineral significantly reduces the risk of tooth decay. It has the unique property of attracting other minerals that harden tooth enamel. When you eat starches, including sugars, acids are released in your mouth. These acids extract minerals from enamel, so teeth soften and become vulnerable to the bacteria that cause cavities. Fluoride helps remineralize teeth. Kids whose teeth are still growing can benefit from drinking tap water with fluoride. Adults, however, don’t profit from fluoride unless it is topically applied, as is the case with fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash.
Besides brushing twice daily, you must floss and attend regular dental checkups every six months to maintain optimal oral health. To schedule your visit at Valley Ridge Family Dental, contact our 50266 dentist office at (515) 223-9764. We serve West Des Moines, Waukee, Clive, Urbandale, and the surrounding Des Moines metro communities.