Let’s Get Brushing
Oral hygiene might have more to do with your health than you think, with recent studies showing direct correlations between our mouth and heart disease, diabetes, kidney health, and dementia – making the relationship with your toothbrush a lot more important. As a gateway to the rest of the body, our mouth can harbour a home for nasty radicals as well as good and bad bacteria. Through the various foods, drinks, products, and medications we consume, bad bacteria can build up on our teeth making our gums prone to infection. Over time, inflammation and chemicals can eat away at the gum and cause problems not only for our mouth, but in the rest of the body as well. So how do we keep the bad bacteria in-check? By brushing of course! To understand why it is important to brush our teeth – we need to take a trip back in time, circa WWII, in America. Prior to the 1930s, a mere 7% of Americans brushed their teeth – YUCK! It wasn’t until WWII (after the subsequent release of the nylon toothbrush) that the G.I.’s were ordered to brush their teeth twice a day to keep healthy. A trend that the soldiers brought back home after the war, helping construct the foundation of oral hygiene care as we know it today. This practice followed the shift in our diets, as we evolved from hunters to gathers to grain-eaters, the radicals and starches found in the food we eat led to tooth decay. Whereas early humans, who didn’t have toothbrushes and generally had few cavities, have their diet to thank - their meals were heavier on meat and light on the carbs. Perhaps this might be food for thought when evaluating sugar-rich foods that can make their way into your everyday diet.
Brushing Habits to Quit
Here are some of the common mistakes people are brushing over when brushing, flossing, or washing their teeth.
1. Keeping Your Toothbrush For Too Long
We’ve all been guilty of favouring a toothbrush that’s been worn down to the bristle and, as you’ve probably guessed, frayed or broken bristles won’t clean your mouth properly, accumulating a bed of bacteria and food particles. The American Dental Association recommends changing your toothbrush every 3-4 months or after every season – to ensure you get the most out of your brush.
2. Not Brushing for Long Enough
Now that you’ve got yourself a new toothbrush, just make sure you brush your teeth for long enough! As a rule of thumb, anything shorter than two minutes isn’t good enough as it is important to ensure you get into every nook and cranny!
3. Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
Although it is important to brush regularly and thoroughly - brushing your teeth is actually more of a delicate process. When brushing with too much pressure, you can actually do more harm than good because it can wear away the thin top layer of gum, leaving the tooth more vulnerable to decay.
4. When We Should be Brushing
We should be brushing our teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. However, it is important to note, cleaning your teeth straight after you’ve had a meal might be doing more damage than cleaning. Certain foods with a high level of acidity in them can soften the enamel in your teeth. Brushing your teeth straight after eating or drinking can damage that softened enamel and can wear away the structure of your teeth. By waiting at least half an hour between eating and brushing, your saliva can neutralise the PH levels in your mouth - that will act as a coat of armour and helps your teeth harden and absorb more calcium.
How to Properly Care for Your Teeth
Although brushing and flossing is an important part of your oral health regimen, your diet, technique and the type of toothbrush you’re using can also attribute to your bright, white smile.
It should come as no surprise that good nutrition and eating habits play a key role in our oral health. We’ve been told for years that sugary foods and drinks are the kryptonite in tooth decay, as their acidic nature sits on top of the teeth wearing away enamel. While this is true, acid-producing bacteria in your mouth feasting on carbohydrates (from sugary foods or starch from bread) causes decay. Foods that cling to your teeth give the bacteria something to savour, but foods that wash away quickly are less likely to cause decay. Eating three meals a day rather than constant snacking is better for your teeth. With fewer meal times your mouth has a chance to wash away food particles with your saliva rather than having constant reintroduction of food.
The proper brushing technique is to place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and in a sweeping/circular motion, roll the brush away from the gumline to remove plaque and debris. It is important to brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and chewing surfaces of the teeth. But remember, you don’t need to push down hard on your brush. A light pressure is more than enough to get your teeth nice and clean.
Types of Toothbrushes
When it comes to choosing the right toothbrush, most dental professionals agree that soft-bristled brushes are best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth. Small-headed brushes are also preferable, since they can reach all areas of the mouth. Although the verdict is still out over electric vs disposable toothbrushes, a recent study found that a certain type of powered toothbrush called a ‘rotation oscillation’ toothbrush is more effective in fighting plaque than a manual brush.
By supporting your mouth and teeth with good oral hygiene practices and a healthy diet, your mouth has a better chance to support your body’s overall well-being.
Remember, if you notice any unusual changes in your mouth, make sure you book an appointment with your dentist or health professional.
Words and links taken from an article by James Colquhoun here
You may also like to read 'Take care of your teeth and gums' by NHS UK here
Dear reader, within this blog you will find a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, music and recipes! It is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. Our main focus is about the Low Carb Higher (Healthy) Fat lifestyle, LCHF for short, and you can read/find out more about that here
All the best Jan
Hi! Tooth and mouth care is important. My mother died of oral cancer. Have a nice evening
Very important information. Valerie
Hello, yes this is important information. Thanks for sharing!
Happy Thursday, enjoy your day and the weekend ahead!
Thanks for this great information that all should read.
I did not know you shouldn't brush directly after eating! Good info, Jan.
Very true. Our oral health has a great impact on our overall health. Thanks for reminding us this vital fact.
I noticed working geriatrics that the oldest all had their original teeth often
I think it's time to switch my brush. I tend to go through two in a year.
Such good advice,,
Thank you for the info Jan.
Important inofrmation, nice to know. Thanks for sharing!
Good advice..thanks for sharing
I have found that using a water pic is great and helps keep gums healthy. My trips to the dentist for cleanings have been so much easier and faster now.
...I should do a better job!
Oh yes, good oral hygiene is so important. As is visiting our dentist on regular basis. We see our hygienist and dentist 3 times a year. ♥
Thank you Jan.
Good info! Thanks!!
While we should all know how to brush our teeth, we tend to be lazy. I know I am and and I am trying to do a better job, like at bedtime. What do you think of a water pick? https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/brand/waterpik/146. They are manufactured in our area. We have a friend who works for the company. I love the rhubarb recipe. I have hens--eggs--and one rhubarb plant. I did not know that it is a vegetable. None the less it is a favorite. I am the only one who eats her. I like to cook it and make a you in the UK will call a compote--here we call it sauce--just sauce. I sweeten it with a natural sweetner--Stevia or Trivia. I like it alone, on toast or cottage cheese, especially or even on my Greek yogurt.
Sorry, Jan...I've not paid a visit over the past few days. I note below you posted a stuffed mushrooms recipe...I've done similar in my post of today.
Rhubarb grows well here where I live...and on this particular property where my little humble cabin sits, my landlords grow it in abundance, but I never partake in the bounty! :)
I did not know that you should wait a while after eating before brushing. Interesting.
Oh, dementia - how frightening (my Grandma suffered Alzheimer´s, thought I´m my Brother´s wife etc).
7% only, ohhhh YUCK!
But I saw a docu where they claimed even way back then they used "herbal sticks" for cleaning teeth.
Two minutes?!!! Ow. I´ll try. Try...!
Glad I have the best dentist in the world. And she is gently, too :-)
I'm one of those that used to brush the teeth with too much force making my gums recede. But the last couple of years I've been trying to brush gently.
Um artigo muito interessante.
Um abraço e bom fim-de-semana.
Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
O prazer dos livros
My grandmother who died in the 1960s from Alzheimer's brushed her teeth with a little stick that she chewed on to make it fibrous. I watched her do this lots. She did not brush like we do. She took the stick and worked on one tooth and in between the teeth one tooth at a time. She had most of her teeth, just missing the back molars.
I brushed away so much of a tooth at the gum line that I had to have a filling applied to the outside of the tooth so I would not brush it more and have it break off at the gum line.
It's funny. Some dental hygienists reteach tooth brushing By my age, I ain't changin' my spots!
One thing, of concern to seniors, is aspiration pneumonia.
Great oral hygiene post!
Happy Day to you,
A ShutterBug Explores
Muy buen reportaje. Un beso.
Great article! Thanks Jan! Big Hugs!
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