13:23 PM

The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Teeth is to Brush and Floss Them – Every Day.

We recently tweeted about Sarah Klein’s article in the Huffington Post, Why Falling Asleep Without Brushing Your Teeth is Actually Pretty Darn Gross. That tweet got your attention.

Sarah wrote, “Brushing is important for reasons beyond fresh breath.” Here’s why: brushing disrupts the growth of bacterial plaque on your teeth. When you don’t brush your teeth plaque makes itself at home on your pearly whites. The longer that plaque sits on your teeth, the more likely it is to become harmful.

When the bacteria stays on your teeth, it releases acids that draw minerals out of the tooth’s enamel. You can even see this happening - white spots on the teeth are a warning sign. If you start to see white spots on your teeth, we recommend you see your dentist as soon possible because the tooth can still be ‘healed’ with fluoride treatments. If you don’t do anything, the acids will continue to eat away at the enamel, and over time, it will collapse, causing a cavity.

The best thing you can do for your teeth is to brush and floss them twice every day (make sure to brush for 2 minutes each time). The effectiveness of this simple routine was demonstrated in a study of children in the town of Nexo, Denmark. The experiment was pretty simple: parents and children were told the correct way to brush their teeth (using fluoridated toothpaste) before breakfast and before bedtime. Fluoridated toothpaste was used because fluoride helps harden the enamel, protecting it from the acids. At the start of the experiment, the children in the Nexo study and other children across Denmark had similar rates of cavities (see chart below). Over time, the simple routine of properly brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste made a big difference – a 60 percent improvement in the cavity rate in seven years.

October is National Dental Hygiene Month so now is a great time to adopt a daily plan to brush, floss, rinse, and chew sugar-free gum in order to improve and maintain your best dental health. For more information and best practices visit our Oral Health Library.