The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes using fluoride toothpaste.
Brushing your teeth helps to clear food particles as well as plaque, a sticky white film that builds on your teeth and includes bacteria. The bacteria in plaque release acids that destroy tooth enamel when you eat a sugary meal or snack.
The acid can eventually eat away at tooth enamel, creating cavities. If plaque is not eliminated, it can harden into tartar, making it more difficult to keep teeth clean. Gum disease is caused by tartar buildup, which causes irritation.
You should think about your diet while deciding when to brush your teeth. If you’ve had an acidic meal or drink, wait a few minutes before brushing your teeth. Tooth enamel is weakened by acids, and brushing too fast might destroy enamel.
Consider purchasing an electric or battery-operated toothbrush if you have arthritis or difficulties holding a toothbrush. These have been demonstrated to be more effective than manual toothbrushes at removing plaque.
To keep your mouth healthy, do the following in addition to brushing your teeth:
• Floss on a daily basis.
• After brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth with mouthwash.
• Make sure you drink plenty of water.
• Limit sugary foods and beverages and have a healthy diet.
• Snacking should be limited.
• Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or more frequently if the bristles are spread or uneven.
• Schedule dental checkups including X-rays and cleanings on a regular basis.