As a general rule of thumb (rule of tooth?), the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth a minimum of two times a day to maintain good dental health and hygiene. You’ve probably heard Dr. Brunacini, Dr. Karagiorgos, and our team of amazing hygienists sing a similar tune at your check ups. That’s because brushing your teeth twice a day is a simple step that all of us can take to ward off plaque, bad breath, and tooth decay. But this month, let’s dig a little deeper… How often should we really be brushing our teeth and when is the best time to do it? Let’s discuss!
Q: Is brushing my teeth twice a day enough?
A: As mentioned, the ADA recommends brushing your teeth at least two times every day, with gentle strokes, for two minutes each time, and we agree! We also recommend using a fluoride toothpaste, a toothbrush with soft bristles – we particularly recommend electric toothbrushes, as well as flossing at least once per day.
Q: Should I brush my teeth before or after I eat breakfast?
A: It is always a good idea to brush your teeth in the morning due to the growth of bacteria that happens overnight. But should you brush before or after you eat and drink? Either one is fine, but if you prefer to brush after you’ve had breakfast, the ADA recommends waiting at least 60 minutes, especially if you’ve had something acidic like orange juice or coffee. This gives your saliva a chance to rinse your teeth and restore your mouth to its natural pH.
Q: Should I brush my teeth after every meal?
A: While it’s not necessary, brushing your teeth after having a high-carb or high-sugar snack is never a bad idea! Again, you should wait about an hour after eating before you brush.
Q: How often should my kids brush their teeth?
A: Two times per day is also the minimum for kids, but if your child wants to brush more, there is no reason not to, as long as he or she brushes gently and with a soft toothbrush. If your child or teen wears braces, brushing after every meal is recommended.
To make sure younger children brush their teeth for a full two minutes each time, try a toothbrush with a fun timer or teach them a two-minute song to sing or hum while brushing. You can also download a fun toothbrushing app on your phone.
Q: Does it matter when I brush my teeth in the evening?
A: Brushing right before bed each night is a great habit to get into, as it removes the bacteria that has accumulated in your mouth during the day while reducing the buildup of plaque while you sleep.
Do you have more questions about how to best care for your oral health? Give us a call at 207.781.5900 — We are your partner in oral health care and are happy to answer any and all questions you may have!
Happy Brushing! 🙂
Welcome to Dental Health 101! Educating our patients is one of our top priorities at FDA, and we thought it would be fun to test your knowledge of some oral health care basics with a pop quiz! Relax, this won’t impact your final grade. 😉 So, grab your extra-sharp No.2 pencils and see if you pass the FDA Basic Dental Health Pop Quiz!
1.When should you bring your child to the dentist for the first time?
A. Between the age of 1 to 3
B. When they lose their first tooth
C. If they have yellow teeth
Answer: A – We recommend you start bringing your children around the age of 1 to 3 to start their dental care. As soon as your child has teeth, they can get cavities and it is helpful to be proactive about oral health care. Each child is different as to when they are ready and our goal is to make coming to the dentist a positive experience for them. Our compassionate team is here to help you start a lifetime of healthy habits for your kids. If you need tips for getting your kids to brush, give us a call!
2. True or False: Dental enamel is the hardest substance in the human body.
Answer: True! It is even harder than bone! A highly resilient surface, it is 96% mineral which makes it extremely durable, lasting hundreds of years. Despite its toughness, enamel can still chip or crack. Take care of tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay by brushing twice-a-day and flossing daily. If a chip happens your tooth enamel can’t repair itself, so come see Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos to talk about your options for repair or restoration.
3. How long should I brush my teeth?
A. 45 seconds
B. 2 minutes
C. 90 seconds
Answer: B – Brush your teeth for 2 minutes, twice-a-day. While the average American only brushes their teeth for about 45 seconds, give your teeth the extra love they need to help reduce plaque and maintain your gum health. Many electric toothbrushes have a built-in timer that automatically shuts off after two minutes…how easy is that?! Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice-a-day, along with daily flossing, regular dental check-ups, and a healthy diet is the basic recipe for a healthy mouth and a healthy life!
4. True or False: A healthy diet can impact your oral health.
Answer: True! A diet rich in vegetables, high-calcium dairy products, protein, and omega-3s, not only keeps your body healthy, but helps your mouth stay healthy, too! Those crisp fruits and veggies help stimulate saliva to keep your teeth clean…kind of like brushing your teeth. Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D help maintain a strong tooth structure, while those omega-3s contribute to a healthy inflammatory response in your body. When you nourish your body, you also support your oral health…so load up your plate with leafy greens, nuts, crunchy veggies, fish, and dairy products. We’re always happy to share healthy tips, so feel free to ask us about what food to incorporate into your diet for improved oral health at your next appointment!
5. For optimal cleaning, brush your teeth:
A. Like you’re scrubbing a toilet
B. Like you’re scraping paint
C. Like you’re massaging a friend
Answer: C – You can brush your teeth too hard: over-brushing your teeth with a stiff-bristled brush or with a lot of force you can damage your tooth enamel and erode your gums. Treat your teeth and gums with care and take a more gentle approach with your pearly whites. Look for an extra soft-bristled brush with the ADA “Seal of Approval” and gently brush at a 45-degree angle so you clean your teeth and massage your gums without causing damage.
How did your dental health knowledge stack up? Whether you aced this quiz or bombed it, please know that FDA is always here to answer your questions and show you the best dental care techniques. We are your partners in your oral health and strive to empower you with knowledge so together we create a customized course of treatment that works for you. Call us at 207.781.5900 with questions or to schedule your next appointment!
Parents know best: kids are bundles of energy often searching for ways to release it. One of the most common ways kids find to release their energy is during individual or group sports! And as we all know, with these activities, there comes a little bit of risk.
As part of Children’s Dental Health month, we’d like to celebrate children and their oral health by offering some strategies and precautions to keep in mind for your kids as they begin participating in sports and other activities. All you need to begin is a little bit of education!
Some Sports are Riskier than Others
Luckily, there are precautions you can take to minimize risks. Some sports with higher risk of mouth or head injury are:
- Ball & stick games (i.e. lacrosse, baseball, hockey)
- Martial Arts, Wrestling, and Boxing
No surprises there! So how can you reduce risk of injury for your kids?
Use a mouthguard or a helmet whenever possible!
“To protect your smile, always wear your mouthguard while playing sports!” — Dr. Brunacini
Mouthguards are the easiest, most convenient and affordable way to prevent oral injuries. While there is a chance kids could remove protective items while horsing around, there is great value in teaching them to take precaution. We suggest introducing the idea of wearing protective gear to kids at an early age to make mouthguards & helmets a fun and everyday element of their favorite activities.
In sports like cycling, skiing or skating, there is less chance of colliding with other children, but rather greater chance to collide with hard surfaces like the ground, parked cars, and other inanimate objects so there is still opportunity for injury. In these cases, it’s important for kids to wear a helmet, preferably with a face guard, as a preventative measure. Helmets with face guards are especially key in contact sports like hockey and football.
In some cases, maybe your child can wear both! After all, the cost of replacing a tooth is much greater than the cost of a mouthguard or helmet.
Other Ways to Help Protect Your Child’s Teeth
Teaching children the rules of sports and the risks associated with them can go a long way. Oftentimes, sports injuries can occur because people (of any age) disregard the rules, just want to win, or just plain get too rough.
Also, strengthening enamel early on is important for the rest of your child’s life. Consider enamel-strengthening toothpaste to help contribute to stronger teeth. While it may not directly prevent an injury, stronger enamel can’t hurt your chances!
If you have any questions about getting a mouthguard for your child, we want to know! We’d love to help. And while we hope it doesn’t happen, in the event that your child needs emergency dental care, we are here for you! Call in to Falmouth Dental Arts after hours and we provide phone numbers to call Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos directly to arrange care.