Image of headstone- Brush Your Teeth Like Your Life Depends On It

Brush Your Teeth Like Your Life Depends On It
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Sloppy Tooth Brushing, Will Be Rewarded With A Disastrous Smile And Can Shave Years From Your Life

I am continuously amazed at the number of people I see in my office that come in with an entire meal’s worth of food left behind. (Okay, a slight exaggeration.) You will not benefit from leaving food clinging to your teeth or stuck between them, but the bacteria living in your mouth are ecstatic. You have just delivered a meal for them, again. You do it everyday. Multiple times.

My goal for you is to starve out the bacteria to reduce their damaging effects. The goal? No morsels left behind

How you brush your teeth is a learned behavior.  It occurs over a period of years with influence from variety of sources.  Moms, dads, teachers, cable TV, internet sources and well-meaning friends.

It’s possible that you had excellent examples to observe and paid really close attention. It’s more likely that you had average examples, like most of us, with average involvement and effort on your part. But now, you’ve decided to make up for lost time.

The reason I mentioned disclosing solutions (a bacteria revealing stain) in the last article was to give you a visible reference for plaque on your teeth.  You see where it accumulates and how much effort it takes to remove it successfully.


What Kind Of Brush Should I Use? Electric Or Manual?

The answer is really which one is most effective for you. Can you remove plaque well with a manual brush? If yes, stay with a manual brush. They have advantages especially when cleaning the gum crevices around each tooth.

In my opinion, a manual brush will often win out over an electric brush if used properly.  And just because you have the most expensive electric brush available doesn’t mean you will do an excellent job if you do not have a clear understanding of the goal of tooth brushing.

I often recommend both. Brush once a day with your electric brush and once a day with your manual brush.


The Goal of Tooth Brushing

The goal of tooth brushing is to remove all food and bacteria on teeth above the gum line and in the crevices around each tooth. It is a lofty goal and it is difficult in reality. But the more you practice the better you will become, until eventually, the average level of bacteria left behind on your teeth is far, far less than before you started your renewed efforts. Good job!

Start with rinsing your mouth out with plain water. This removes the loose food pieces and lets the bristles contact the sides of the teeth and begin the gentle scrubbing action that scrapes the sticky bacteria layer off of the teeth.

Bacteria consume the food you have left behind and spew their waste everywhere. Then they make more bacteria babies and double their population every 5 hours. It is a never-ending battle.

Bill Landers of Oratec, writing for RDH magazine mentions there are 500 to 650 species of bacteria found in your mouth.

According to University of Michigan’s Dr. Walter Loesche, about 1 billion microbes or bacteria are clinging to your teeth. And 20 billion are coating the teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue combined, at any one time. So bacteria are not in short supply.

It’s these bacteria and others you are exposed to on a regular basis that will cause cavities, gingivitis (gum infections causing inflamed, bleeding, sore gums), periodontitis (bone destroying gum infections) and those that put you at risk for major illnesses.

As a friend of mine Sam Queen, the founder of Health Realities, often said, your body is designed to win. So if you improve your odds by using good nutrition and home care efforts, you can radically change your future for the better.