Just like “no days off” is used for motivation in the fitness world, I adopt the same sentiment for dental hygiene and recommend “two-a-days” when it comes to brushing.
Though workout routines vary depending on your situation, every mouth is unique with different care requirements, so brushing twice each day for two minutes is not one of those variables.
Bacteria in your mouth never take a day off. In fact, colonies of bacteria regenerate quickly, which is why they must be disrupted by brushing every 12 hours at the least.
Brushing disrupts the bacteria that adhere between the teeth and under your gumline. If left alone, bacterial colonies mature and become more difficult to remove, which leads to infected teeth and gums. Doing so twice daily has tremendous cosmetic benefits as well, like pearly white teeth and fresh breath.
Proper technique is important for lifting weights and the same is true for brushing your teeth. I recommend brushing right along the gumlines, where the pocket of gum tissue meets your tooth. With a medium amount of pressure, work for 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth and move the brush in circular motions. Make sure to look into the mirror to ensure you reach all areas of each tooth.
Talk with your hygienist about your brushing technique and ask which toothpaste is best for you.
And just like sore muscles mean you had a good workout, if you notice a little blood when you first begin, you’re probably doing it right. A little blood means you are disrupting the bacterial buildup and reaching neglected gums. (If there is tremendous pain or bleeding that doesn’t improve after one week of brushing properly, make an appointment with your dentist to make sure there aren’t any concerns.)
Flossing regularly, rinsing after meals, and brushing your tongue twice daily are additional parts of an ideal oral healthcare routine. Like exercising and eating right, good home hygiene improves your health and will save time and money by preventing emergency dental visits and more costly procedures later.
So, remember that there are no days off when it comes to brushing! If you find it difficult to brush for the full duration, try and find a two-minute pump-up song and turn up the volume while you brush. Good music always motivates me at the gym. Happy brushing!
Sydney Caskey, DDS is a dentist in practice with ROC Dental Group in Bluffton.