Brushing our teeth sounds simple. Since childhood, we have been taught to brush our teeth every day and after three meals, otherwise we will get tooth decay, bad breath, periodontal disease, and rotten teeth, and we have to clean our teeth once every six months to ensure dental health. Theoretically, brushing is something we should do every day, but according to a survey by the National Health Service, as many as 99.2% of adults in Taiwan have periodontal problems. This figure represents at least several meanings.
- Many people do not brush their teeth at the right time
- Many people do not brush their teeth the right way
- Many people are not clear about the choice of toothbrush and toothpaste
There is never a shortage of news about brushing. Some people say that you can’t brush your teeth immediately after drinking acid. Is it true? I have heard that human beings do not need toothpaste at all, and that a toothbrush is enough? In order to answer these questions, the two dentist partners of the MedPartner team will explain in detail what you need to know about brushing your teeth through this article.
Without further ado, let’s get to the lesson!
What are you brushing? The focus is on removing plaque!
According to the National Health Bureau, 75% of the nationals brush their teeth at least twice a day, but as many as 99% of them have periodontal disease of varying severity, and the rate of tooth decay in children under 6 years old is as high as 80%. The answer is revealed: you can’t brush your teeth.
I know you’re thinking, “You can’t brush your teeth? I brush my teeth every day! You need to teach me how to do that?” But do you really know how to brush your teeth properly? Ever since you were a kid, like studying English math, there was a textbook telling you how to brush? Many people do brush their teeth, but they really get the point wrong and do it the wrong way.
Brush your teeth to get rid of plaque
Brushing your teeth is not just a matter of taking a brush to your mouth and snoring it around. What is plaque? You can think of it as the biofilm in your mouth. Okay, the next question is, what is biofilm?
Biofilm is a combination of microorganisms and organic matter on a hard surface. You can think of it as a colony of bacteria on the surface of your teeth.
The acid produced by the metabolism of the bacteria in plaque can erode the enamel on the surface of the teeth. Although enamel is the hardest part of the body, it does not have good resistance to acid, and the accumulated damage will cause tooth decay and cavities.
Plaque is not only on the teeth, but also in the gingival sulcus, which can lead to inflammation, resulting in the gradual destruction of the surrounding tissues and the loss of the alveolar bone that supports the teeth, and without the foundation to support the teeth, the teeth will gradually fall off. This is the periodontal disease that dentists are most concerned about.
Therefore, when cleaning, special attention should be paid to areas where plaque is likely to accumulate, such as
Side of the teeth
The area where the teeth and gums meet
Grooves and depressions on the teeth
Rougher surfaces on the teeth
The picture above is colored with plaque revealer to show the dead spots that are easily created by regular cleaning. The colored part is the plaque.
The most effective way to get rid of plaque is by physical force, such as brushing with bristles or flossing. Using mouthwash alone may only kill the bacteria on the surface of the plaque, but it does not completely remove the tribe of bacteria.
Many mouthwash manufacturers will say that they can kill a certain percentage of bacteria, but what they don’t tell you is that the bacteria they can kill are only on the surface of the plaque, as long as the plaque is not really removed, the bacteria will continue to grow next.
Brush your teeth without implementation, beware of tartar
If you brush your teeth properly, you are less likely to leave plaque behind. However, as I said earlier, too many people do not brush their teeth properly and the plaque left behind will calcify and form tartar.
When tartar is formed, it is difficult to remove it with a toothbrush or dental floss. The rough surface of the tartar will allow bacteria to attach better and cause more plaque to accumulate, resulting in a more serious inflammatory reaction. This is why you need to go to the dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and oral examination!
Seeing this, you should make up your mind to brush your teeth properly (?) But if you want to be good at what you do, you have to be good at what you do, so you should want to go to a weapon store and buy a prop, right? Then how to choose a toothbrush and toothpaste?
How to choose a toothbrush? Toothpaste and toothbrush selection principles
Before brushing your teeth, we must have a suitable toothbrush, there is a wide range of toothbrushes in the market, all kinds of shapes and colors, but in fact, you only need to grasp the following important principles for toothbrush selection.
How to choose a toothbrush
1.Soft bristles: Using a toothbrush with too hard bristles will cause damage to your teeth and gums, and it is also easy to brush your teeth with improper force, which can lead to problems such as sensitive teeth.
2.Small head: A toothbrush with too large a head will have many dead ends when brushing, especially when brushing large molars and other locations because the brush head is stuck in soft tissue causing unclean brushing
3.Upright bristles: Upright bristles allow the bristles to clean the surface of the teeth efficiently when the hand is moving. Don’t make the bristles too dense: too dense bristles tend to get stuck in food residue, and the toothbrush itself is not easy to clean and can easily become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Also remind, when the toothbrush is used for a period of time, the bristles will split, it is time to replace the toothbrush, keep the bristles upright in order to efficiently and do not hurt the gums to brush your teeth oh.
The role of toothpaste in toothbrushing
The main ingredients of most toothpastes are similar, but there are so many different kinds of toothpastes on the market because of the different kinds of auxiliary properties, the addition of different ingredients, and the respective brands and packaging.
The ingredients in toothpaste help remove surface stains and help prevent tooth decay through fluoride. All toothpastes certified by the American Dental Asscociation contain fluoride, which has the ability to prevent tooth decay. When it comes to toothpaste selection, choose toothpaste with different auxiliary properties depending on your needs, such as anti-sensitivity or periodontal anti-inflammatory.
For most people, the most effective way to prevent tooth decay is to use toothpaste with fluoride and the correct brushing method.
When is the right time to brush teeth? Can’t I brush after eating something sour?
The next question that we are most concerned about is when is the right time to brush our teeth?
The most commonly heard practice is “Brush 333”, which suggests brushing after three meals and before going to bed, and brushing within 3 minutes after meals, and brushing for at least 3 minutes each time.
However, the American Dental Association (ADA) offers a different recommendation on how often to brush after meals. The main reason is that the enamel of the teeth is very acidic and if you brush your teeth immediately after eating acidic foods, these acids may cause more wear to the teeth.
This seems to be different from brushing 333. So what can we do? Let’s take a serious look at it together.
The interval between brushing and eating acid has different effects on enamel and ivory
In a 2001 and 2004 German study on brushing after acid exposure (Ref. 2.3), teeth were divided into six groups and each group was first soaked in sprite light (Sprite, pH 2.9) for 90 seconds, and then immediately, for 10 minutes, for 20 minutes, for 30 minutes, and for 60 minutes. The results showed that brushing after 60 minutes caused the least damage in the group with brushing, but even in the group with brushing after 60 minutes, the damage to tooth enamel was significantly higher than that in the group without brushing.
In 2004, a similar experiment was conducted on the dentin (also known as ivory, the inner layer of enamel), which was also divided into six groups and treated with sprite light for 90 seconds.
Therefore, to summarize, the timing of brushing is basically after three meals and before bedtime, and at least 3 minutes per brushing. However, there is a special situation, if you have eaten or drank a particularly acidic food or drink, do not brush your teeth immediately, you can wait for a period of time before brushing, during which you can rinse your mouth with water or chew sugar-free gum to reduce the acidity on your teeth.
But speaking of which, there is still a problem! It’s really hard to brush your teeth 333 times, so if you can’t do it, is there a compromise? For dentists, instead of giving you a requirement that you can’t do, it’s better to give a standard that you can do, and it’s better to brush than not brush at all (sigh). The American Dental Association’s most basic requirement for brushing is.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. The American Dental Association does not recommend a specific time. On balance, we usually recommend once in the morning and once in the evening, after breakfast and before bedtime. Thorough brushing at least two times will get rid of most plaque.
- Floss properly at least once a day. Flossing removes food debris and plaque from between your teeth, which your toothbrush can’t handle.