If you're concerned about keeping up with good oral hygiene, you may be wondering how long to brush your teeth for the best results. You want to be sure that you're getting your teeth clean enough. So how long is good enough? Many dentists agree that proper brushing takes at least two minutes. Dr. Anna Guarna, a dentist for over twenty years in Connecticut, goes one step further and typically has her patients brush for three minutes — one and a half minutes on both the upper teeth and the bottom teeth.
Most people don't even come close to brushing for two minutes, let alone three. Three minutes can seem like a long time - especially for little ones. Dr. Guarna recommends using a timer to make it a bit more fun. There are also electronic toothbrushes that have self-timers to help you get back on track. Though it is important to pay attention to how long you're brushing, it's even more important to make sure all surfaces are clean.
According to Guarna, "Proper brushing technique is probably more important than timing." Remember to brush using short strokes, moving back and forth against the teeth and gums, around the surface of every tooth. Use the tip of the brush to reach behind each front tooth on the top and bottom. In addition, don't forget flossing - it's just as important as brushing. If you don't brush your teeth long enough, you may not be getting your teeth clean enough.
If you leave behind bacteria on the teeth after brushing, it can lead to serious problems such as gingivitis or periodontitis. Additionally, according to Dr. Guarna, recent studies have found that heavy plaque in the mouth can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries. Can too much brushing be detrimental? According to Dr. Guarna, it's not an issue of brushing for too long, it's an issue of applying too much pressure when brushing.
Using too much pressure can cause abrasion of the enamel and of the gum tissue, which can lead to tooth sensitivity. Guarna recommends trying to use your non-dominant hand to brush - you may be amazed to realize just how much pressure you are applying.
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An appliance has become the most significant investments you are going to ever make. Appliances are usually hefty purchases, and they are one in the most critical parts of your house. You depend upon appliances for all the things from cooking to cleansing, and especially contemplating the level of money you are going to be placing forth for it, it only makes sense that you would desire to be sure you make the most sensible get.
Brush or Floss Question: Is it better to brush or floss first? Answer: There are many differing theories on this. Some argue that flossing should come first because, when flossing, plaque and bits of food are loosened and should be brushed away after you’ve finished flossing. fluoride from the toothpaste will make better contact if food wedged in between the teeth is removed before brushing. The argument for brushing first and then flossing is that brushing your teeth first removes the bulk of the plaque on the teeth.
Flossing afterward forces the remaining bit of fluoride left on the teeth from brushing into the in-between spaces. Here’s my opinion: As long as you’re asking this question, it means you’re doing both, and that’s what matters. The synergy between flossing and brushing (and not the order in which you do them) will lengthen your life, improve your cognitive abilities, and will keep your teeth healthy and beautiful.
Unfortunately, if people are going to do one or the other, they’re going to brush. Flossing tends to be thought of as secondary, maybe because we’ve been told since childhood the same phrase over and over, “Brush, then floss.” Imagine staining only the front and back of a fence, but neglecting to paint the insides – sure, you’ve stained the front and back of the fence, but the insides are going to rot.
The same goes with teeth – if you neglect to floss, you can still get cavities in between. It’s a widespread myth that you can get away with brushing only. Flossing cleans out the parts of the teeth that the toothbrush cannot reach. Brushing without flossing can result in cavities, gum disease, and even heart disease. So, whether you brush first or floss first is your preference! I recommend that you stick with whatever works for you so that you stay in the habit of always brushing and flossing.
Blog Notes: About Mark Burhenne DDS Welcome! My name is Dr. Mark Burhenne, or Dr. B for short. When did we start seeing the mouth as separate from the rest of the human body? The mouth doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is intimately connected to the health of the rest of the body. In fact, the bacteria and entire environment inside the mouth are connected to the rest of your body so intimately that the state of your oral health can predict whether you’ll have heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.
In my 30 years of practice as a dentist, I’ve seen a lot of misinformation and people who have fallen through the cracks due to our healthcare system’s failure to understand the oral-body connection. I created this blog to empower people to understand how your mouth is a window into the health of the rest of your body. It is my sincere hope that the knowledge and tools on this blog will lead to greater health and well-being for you and those you love.
Throughout this website you’ll find high-quality articles and free resources for getting and staying healthy. It’s the info I use to keep myself and my family healthy, and how I treat my patients. I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.S. in Biochemistry and B.A. in History of Art and had the privilege of attending the University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, consistently ranked among the best in the US.
I am an active member of several continuing education groups and study clubs in prosthetics and periodontology that perform actual clinical work on patients. I have worked as an expert witness in legal dental cases. I’ve also volunteered as a dental surgeon in Jos, Nigeria. I raised three daughters without cavities (all without ingestion of fluoride). I enjoy downhill skiing, alpine touring, mountain biking, photography, and listening to jazz and classical records (you know, those flat analog 12-inch vinyl discs).
I am passionate about restoring teeth to their original function and beauty – and as someone who studied art history and is a hobbyist photographer, the intersection of art and the opportunity to help people makes dentistry my dream profession. I welcome your comments and questions and encourage you to like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter to get the latest on oral and dental health.
Ask the Dentist is for you, so I want to know, what would you like answered on Ask the Dentist? Mark Burhenne DDS Share this post Author: Dr. Mark Burhenne https://askthedentist.com/ Hi, I'm Dr. Mark Burhenne, family and sleep medicine dentist. Good dental health is good overall health. It's that important, and it's exactly why I created Ask the Dentist. Related Posts