The Why’s of Brushing and Flossing

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Have you ever wondered why you are told to brush and floss every day? Here some basic functions of oral hygiene, and why they help your mouth health.

Brush and Floss: We have heard the advice of our dentist since we were children—brush twice a day, floss once a day—but some individuals still struggle. Let’s review: brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. Some people find it helpful to set a timer. Floss once per day. This should take two to three minutes each time.

Proper brushing and flossing techniques prevent plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky film made of living bacteria, which eat the sugar in your mouth from leftover food particles. They then create an acidic byproduct, which coats the teeth and erodes enamel until a hole forms. That hole is called a cavity. Brushing and flossing removes the bacteria film from teeth, as well as clearing away food particles, thus reducing cavity formation.

Reduce Acid Intake: Acid forms cavities. That acid can come from bacteria, but it can also come from foods and drinks. Reduce your intake of acidic and sugary drinks, such as wine, soda, sugared coffee, energy drinks and sports drinks. If you do choose to drink these beverages, use a straw. This will help protect the teeth from getting an acid wash.

Chew Gum: After eating or drinking, the acids from the food temporarily soften the enamel. Thus, it is best not to brush your teeth directly after eating (unless directed to do so by your dentist). Instead, stimulate the salivary glands by chewing a piece of sugarless gum. Saliva is your body’s first defense against cavities. The saliva created will wash food particles away from teeth and help to neutralize the acids, preparing your teeth for brushing.

For more information, call Potomac Dental Centre in Hagerstown, Maryland, at 240-329-2398. Dr. Everett Eklund and our team look forward to seeing you soon!