We’ve all heard it. And as much as it’s become a rallying point for dental health, it’s only PART of the whole truth: brushing twice a day for two minutes is essential for oral health. You’ve heard it, you know it, maybe you’re pretty good about practicing it. Or maybe you’re taking it for granted.
There are bigger reasons for regular brushing than avoiding tooth decay. Yes, we’re talking whole-body reasons that this video by Science Insider has colorfully illustrated.
And even if we’ve all heard it a million times, only 50% of Americans brush their teeth twice a day according to Authority Dental. One in three Americans (32.8%) brush their teeth just ONCE per day, and 8.6% of Americans brush once every few days.
Skipping a brush occasionally—although it’s not ideal—will not necessarily mean the end of the world. However, if you fail to brush your teeth more than once in a blue moon, it can cause all types of problems, starting in the short term with bad breath, plaque and tartar build-up.
According to the Science Insider video, in the long run, things can a lot worse remarkably fast, and can even become life-threatening.
By skipping out on a solid brushing routine, you can promote bacterial invasion leading to tooth decay and gum disease, for starters. Even worse, it may also increase your risk for diseases like kidney failure and dementia.
Now that we’re talking bacteria, here are some fun facts according to College Of Dentistry:
- There are an estimated 300 different species of bacteria living inside our mouths
- A ten-second kiss can spread as many as 80 million bacteria between mouths
- We have more than 30 trillion bacteria in our body at any given time
- Bacteria are only 1/500th of a human hair in width but can cause big problems in our mouths and bodies
Bacteria live inside our mouths, feeding off the sugar and proteins in our food. And when they reproduce into a bacterial colony (or that grimy film over your teeth at night), they’re called biofilm. A small amount of biofilm is not going to hurt you. But if you don’t brush your teeth well, this colony can become enormous, and things can get complicated.
Bacteria concentrate in extremely large numbers inside your mouth and between your gum line, where another common problem they can cause is gingivitis.
And this is just the beginning. Soon, an infection of gingivitis can trigger your immune system. Although this will create a hostile environment for the bacteria (and help kill off excess), it can also damage the cells in nearby tissue and bone.
Six to twelve months later, that tissue and bone will eventually die, causing periodontal disease (which is an advanced form of gingivitis). In periodontal disease, your gums separate from your teeth, forming a space that quickly becomes home to bacteria. This disease, called periodontitis, can become more severe over time and result in teeth loss.
You may think that the odds of suffering from periodontitis are low, but according to a recent CDC report…
- 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease
- Periodontal disease increases with age, with 70.1% of adults 65 years and older suffering from it
In addition, according to this informational and animated video, about 10% of Americans aged 50 to 64 have lost all their teeth from periodontitis.
Things can get even more severe from there. These bacteria can also enter your bloodstream, resulting in problems for multiple systems of organs.
Based on the video and other studies, we’ve learned that:
- People with periodontal disease have up to 4.5 times greater likelihood of developing chronic kidney disease than people with healthy gums
- People in a retirement community where residents were studied who did not brush their teeth daily, there was a 65% greater risk of developing dementia
- There is an increased risk of developing certain cancers such as oral, esophageal, gastric and pancreatic cancer associated with poor oral hygiene
These risks may also be a result of poor hygiene in general and other community risk factors, but that doesn’t change the fact that brushing your teeth and keeping oral bacteria under control is an important piece of your whole-body health.
All that said, brushing alone may not be enough. In the following video by Bright Side, you’ll see 10 most common mistakes made with tooth brushing, along with proper ways to take care of your teeth (and keep your smile and body healthier).
Pay attention to the way you brush your teeth
We’re sure that many people reading this blog have been brushing their teeth for 30, 40 or even 50 years. However, when it comes to brushing your teeth well, there is a thing such as proper brushing techniques.
Our own expert tips for brushing include:
1. To start, you should not press the toothbrush too hard. According to Dr. Romo, consumer advisor of the American Dental Association, “People tend to brush aggressively, thinking it’s the only way they can get their teeth to feel clean and look whiter. That’s counterproductive, because not only does it cause recession of your gums, but you’re also wearing away the white, glossy enamel on your teeth, making them look yellow and darker.”
2. In addition, a softer toothbrush with a small head can be more effective since it will be easier to reach all the corners of your mouth.
3. Moreover, you cannot remove sticky bacterial tooth deposits and bits of food completely just by brushing your teeth. It is important to use dental floss to clean the space between your teeth.
4. Another important tip is to stop rinsing your mouth with water after brushing your teeth, because water removes all the fluoride received from toothpaste. Instead, just spit the toothpaste out or use mouthwash. Based on the video above, try not to drink anything for about 30 minutes after using mouthwash to rinse your mouth, too.
5. Last but not least, always take care of your gums. You probably understand now how vital the health of your gums is. If your gums are weak or do not have enough blood supply, it can lead to periodontitis and all sorts of the problems mentioned previously.
How to get your tooth tartar removed
Tooth tartar is the hardened product of minerals made from saliva and food that piles up in plaque around your teeth, and it can’t be removed anymore with a toothbrush. According to News Medical, “Having a layer of plaque on the teeth and gums means they are more vulnerable to disease. As the tartar grows on the surface of the teeth, they will begin to decay and cavities will form in the enamel. Even though enamel is one of the strongest substances in the human body, if plaque is not removed in time, it will develop small holes.” It’s highly recommended to have a professional cleaning at least twice year to get rid of tartar build-up.
Pay attention to the foods you consume
Eating too many sweets can cause cavities. That’s another one you already know, right? But based on the video, to keep your teeth healthy you need to not only avoid foods that cause decay, but also promote consuming foods that specifically contain calcium, phosphorus and fluorine.
Maintaining good oral health can go a long way for your full-body health. Stick to the points mentioned in the article, and call us right away if you don’t have your semi-annual cleaning scheduled!