When your teeth are feeling good, it’s easy to forget about the importance of oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing often go by the wayside. As your first measure of protection, brushing and flossing is still the easiest and most effective way to keep your mouth healthy. In case you need a primer, let’s look at what happens in your mouth before, during, and after you eat food.
Plaque is a made up of saliva and food particles. It contains bacteria and that eats carbohydrates like sugar, and processes this into acid. That acid sits on your teeth is the leading cause of tooth decay, cavities, enamel destruction, and bad breath. When plaque isn’t removed within 48 hours it begins to calcify. When plaque hardens it turns into tartar. This is much more difficult to remove with flossing and brushing.
Brushing your teeth regularly is incredibly important, but what do you do in-between meals? Going to the bathroom to brush isn’t always practical, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some steps you can take to protect your teeth. Do the following after eating for better oral health.
There is one occasion where brushing your teeth can actually do more harm than good. If you have just consumed an acidic food, wait to brush your teeth. Acidic food weakens your tooth enamel, and brushing can actually remove it. It’s advisable to wait at least 30 – 45 minutes to brush your teeth after consuming an acidic food. This is a better way to protect your important tooth enamel and overall oral health than brushing immediately.
If you won’t have the opportunity to brush afterwards then you can brush beforehand. Brushing before something acidic still removes bacteria and plaque without risking your enamel.
Proper brushing has been covered before, so let’s look at the reasons why it works. Consider some of the most effective teeth cleaning products available. Electric toothbrushes with internal motors rely on vibration to remove plaque. Keep this in mind when brushing. Trying to mimic this effect. Use a very light touch when brushing and spend at least 2 minutes brushing. Use incredibly short strokes and always make sure to get often forgotten areas in the back of your mouth.
The greatest benefit floss provides is to get below the gum line. Pulling floss around your teeth in a “C” shape and moving up and down and side to side will loosen and remove plaque. Always make sure to floss your teeth first. You’ll want to rinse after flossing, and brush immediately. This will help to remove any plaque that is free floating in your mouth or settled back onto your teeth.
Since bacteria grows in plaque, and bacteria needs carbohydrates like sucrose to produce acid, brushing before you eat can also be a great preventative technique. Removing plaque or carbohydrates both help inhibit bacteria’s ability to produce acid and hurt your teeth. If you aren’t able to brush your teeth after a meal, brushing beforehand can be just a useful, and in the case of acidic foods, even more beneficial.
If you would like a demonstration of the proper way to brush and floss, or have more questions about oral hygiene, just ask your dentist. Their first concern is keeping your mouth healthy, and preventative techniques are always favored over painful and expensive surgical corrections like fillings and crowns. Taking action now can help your mouth remain healthy, and provide you with great teeth long into the future.