When it comes to taking care of your teeth, there are few things you can do that are more impactful than daily brushing. Plaque takes just a few hours to form on your teeth, and can cause enamel damage that leads to cavities and tooth sensitivity.
Fortunately, by regularly removing plaque through brushing—and by getting regular professional teeth cleanings with your dentist to remove plaque you can’t reach with your toothbrush—you can keep your teeth and gums healthy. But how often should you brush your teeth at home?
Try to Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth two times every day for about two minutes each time . If you’re not sure how long you’re brushing your teeth for, set a timer to see if you need to brush for longer or need to shorten your brushing time. Aim to brush all the surfaces of your teeth that you can reach with your toothbrush, then supplement your brushing with flossing once per day.
No Need to Brush After Every Meal
Most people choose to brush their teeth in the mornings and evenings, which are the perfect times to set routines for tooth brushing. There’s no need to brush your teeth after every meal.
In fact, brushing immediately after eating can do more harm to your teeth than good. Ideally, you want to wait about 60 minutes after eating or drinking anything but water before brushing your teeth, according to the ADA . The best time to brush your teeth is first thing in the morning before consuming any drinks or foods, and last thing before bed!
The Best Brushing Habits Go a Long Way Towards a Healthy Smile
Of course, you want to take the best possible care of your teeth. The following tips will help you cultivate the best brushing habits for the healthiest, cleanest, and brightest smile!
- Don’t brush too hard. Brushing aggressively can damage tooth enamel instead of helping it. It’s always best to be gentle, and choose a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect your tooth enamel, especially if you have sensitive teeth or gums.
- Consider going electric. There is some evidence that shows that electric toothbrushes are superior to manual for cleaning your teeth, especially for people who have a history of gum disease or have mobility challenges .
- Make those regular dental visits. Regular checkups and cleanings go a long way towards supplementing your healthy brushing habits and keeping your smile free of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems. Make your appointments and stick to them!
Don’t ignore the importance of brushing your teeth two times every day. If for some reason you can’t do two times, one is better than not at all! Talk to your dentist about your brushing habits to determine what can be improved and if you need to make any adjustments in your brushing routine to better support your smile!