You probably know the importance of brushing, flossing, and having your teeth cleaned at the dentist. But do you know how often is best? Are you following the best possible routine for your dental health? If you have any doubts, consider this advice for proper dental hygiene.
How Often Should You Brush Your Teeth?
On average, dentists usually recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day. This would typically be done once in the morning and once more in the evening. However, there are certain situations where brushing your teeth more often may be helpful, such as:
- If you have braces. While wearing braces you are more susceptible to cavities. The braces make it more likely for food to become trapped and create many small areas for bacteria to hide. It is also more difficult to brush effectively with braces, which is why it is important to do so more often to decrease your chances of missing a spot. Brushing your teeth after eating is usually a good idea when you have braces to keep your teeth clean and also to avoid the embarrassment of food being stuck in your teeth.
- If you get cavities often. Do you seem to get cavities more often than average? Some people have softer teeth and more acidic saliva, which is an unfortunate combination when it comes to tooth decay. If you require frequent fillings, it would be in your best interest to brush your teeth more often. You may be able to reduce the frequency of future cavities.
- If you suffer from gum disease. Gum disease is usually the result of plaque buildup on the teeth that feeds the bacteria in the mouth so much that they become overpopulated and infect the gums. Brushing your teeth more often can prevent gum disease.
Your dentist can offer you a recommendation for brushing frequency based on your current dental health and your dental health history.
How Often Should You Floss Your Teeth?
Dentists usually recommend flossing your teeth once a day in conjunction with brushing your teeth. Whether you floss in the morning or at night isn’t really important. What time of day you floss should be determined by when you have the time and when you are less likely to forget or choose not to.
- Benefits of flossing at night: Flossing at night ensures you remove all of the food particles and plaque from between your teeth before you go to bed. During the night the bacteria in your mouth are free to feed and multiply uninterrupted by drinking and eating, so it is best to go to bed with a clean mouth.
- Potential problems with flossing at night: You may be more likely to skip flossing and brushing at night if you’re tired and just ready to go to bed.
- Benefits of flossing in the morning: You can make flossing a part of your morning routine when you get ready for the day, making it less likely for you to forget. It can also help keep your breath fresh throughout the day.
- Potential problems with flossing in the morning: The food that gets stuck between your teeth during the day simply sits between your teeth all night, which allows it plenty of time to turn into plaque before you floss the next morning.
It is also recommended that you floss before you brush so that the plaque and food particles that get loosened by the floss can be brushed away. And you’re less likely to forget to floss if you do it before you brush.
How Often Should You Have Your Teeth Cleaned at the Dentist?
The American Dental Association recommends having your teeth professionally cleaned at the dentist’s office every 6 months. This schedule works for most patients and most dental plans cover two cleanings per year. As with brushing and flossing, there are certain situations where your dentist may recommend that you come in more often for teeth cleanings. Such situations include:
- Chronic or recurring gum disease. If you have chronic or recurring gum disease that is a challenge to keep at bay, your dentist may request that you come every 3 months instead of every 6 months for cleanings and dental exams.
- Severe dental decay. If you have frequent cavities or severe dental decay that is difficult to manage, your dentist may recommend that you come in more often for cleanings, such as every 3 months or even monthly.
Can You Brush and Floss Your Teeth Too Often?
Yes. Brushing and flossing your teeth too frequently can have negative effects on your dental health. It can cause your gum tissue to wear away from your teeth, exposing the softer root portion of the teeth which is more susceptible to decay. Your gums can become irritated and inflamed from too much brushing. There is also a normal amount of bacteria that should live in your mouth, and brushing too much can wreak havoc on what should be a healthy balance.
Visit Smile Makers Comprehensive Dentistry at Least Twice a Year
To best maintain your dental health, you should visit Smile Makers Comprehensive Dentistry in Montgomery, AL at least every 6 months. We recommend that you brush twice a day, floss once a day, and visit us twice a year. If you require any additional dental care, we will create a treatment plan that is best for you.