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Explained: How Often Should You Really Brush Your Teeth?

We’ve all grown up hearing about the importance of brushing our teeth on a regular basis. Of course, many of us have heard conflicting information on the subject as well. Some sources insist once per day is enough as long as the timing is right. Others say we should brush our teeth at least three times per day, once after every meal and snack.

Which one is accurate? Just how often do you need to brush? Which measures does it take to truly protect your teeth against plaque and tartar buildup, cavities, gum disease, and other issues?

At Wilmot Family Dentistry, we’re here to answer those questions once and for all.

How Often Should I Brush My Teeth?

In general, the American Dental Association recommends brushing twice each day, once in the morning and once in the evening or at night.

Hundreds of strains of bacteria naturally live in the mouth. Sugars, acids, and other substances exist in the mouth as well. They come together to form plaque and tartar buildup on our teeth and can cause extensive damage without routine brushing.

Brushing your teeth in the mornings gets rid of all the buildup that develops overnight and helps ward off the notorious morning breath so many of us suffer from when we wake up. Buildup starts to redevelop as soon as we finish brushing our teeth as well. 

As we eat and drink over the course of the day, it continually grows worse.

Brushing in the evenings or just before bedtime reduces the harmful bacteria, sugar, and acid our teeth are exposed to while we sleep to further keep dental damage at bay.

Digging Deeper into Tooth Protection

Having said all that, certain variables can alter the equation a bit. Some people need to brush their teeth more frequently than others. If you smoke, your teeth are more prone to damage than they would be otherwise.

Smoking affects the teeth in many ways. For one, it covers the teeth in even more damaging substances than food, beverages, and natural bacteria. These include tar and numerous chemicals. 

At the same time, smoking can hamper your immune system and make you particularly vulnerable to infections from oral bacteria. Smoking also makes you slower to heal from infections. All that makes you more susceptible to gum disease and other problems. Smokers should consider brushing their teeth three times per day or more to further reduce the risks. 

Additionally, if you consume a great deal of soda, fruit and juices, sweets, and other foods and drinks that contain acids and sugars, you may want to go above and beyond the standard twice-daily brushings. Those items greatly increase your risk of cavities and place additional wear and tear on your teeth and gums. 

Read Also: Root Canal Treatment In Tucson

When Should I Brush My Teeth?

We’ve already mentioned that brushing your teeth in the mornings and at night is essential. Still, precise timing is also important. Keep in mind, brushing your teeth and consuming foods and beverages can temporarily soften the enamel covering your teeth and make it more porous. 

As such, you need to time your brushing sessions accordingly. When you brush your teeth, be sure to wait at least thirty minutes before eating or drinking anything. If you eat or drink something beforehand, try to wait at least thirty minutes afterward to brush. This will help minimize the impact sugars and acids have on your teeth and reduce your risk of tooth sensitivity.

Should I Follow a Specific Brushing Strategy?

This is another area in which a great deal of confusion has come to light. Some experts recommend brushing with an up-and-down motion whereas others say making small circles is best. Truthfully, how you brush isn’t as important as simply ensuring you cover all the exposed surfaces of your teeth all the way to the gumline. Be sure you brush for at least two minutes per session as well.

Other Dental Care Measures to Consider

Brushing at least twice a day thirty minutes before or after eating and doing so for at least two minutes per session is crucial. That’s only part of a well-rounded dental care routine, though. Keeping your teeth and gums as healthy as possible also requires additional measures. 

Flossing or using a water pick is important, too. It’ll get rid of all the food particles and buildup in between your teeth that the toothbrush can’t possibly reach. Consider rinsing with an alcohol- and sugar-free mouthwash as well. Mouthwash helps eliminate the bacteria and buildup in your mouth that are often left behind after brushing and flossing. Because of that, it’ll reduce your risk of cavities, periodontitis, and other dental issues.

On top of that, we can’t stress enough the importance of twice-annual dental cleanings. Professional cleanings remove the buildup you may not be able to see or get rid of on your own. It also gives us a chance to catch cavities and other developing problems early, so we can start treating them before they have a chance to spread.

Are the Rules the Same for Children?

Yes, the rules for proper brushing and routine cleanings are the same for children as they are for adults. Be careful about the amount of toothpaste your children use, though. Infants and toddlers should use a drop of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. Those ages three and older should use a pea-sized amount. That’ll help minimize the risk of swallowing. 

When it comes to mouthwash, the ADA recommends waiting until the age of six. Too much fluoride can negatively affect young children’s teeth. They’re generally unable to control their reflexes enough to keep from swallowing or getting strangled on mouthwash before that age as well.

Ideally, flossing should begin once children have teeth that touch. Of course, in many cases, it’s best to wait until the little ones are able to understand just what you’re doing, so they won’t fight you or be overly confused and frightened by the situation. If you’re trying to floss a frightened toddler’s teeth, you could inadvertently injure his or her gums.

Keeping Your Teeth and Gums in Top-Notch Condition

In a nutshell, it’s best to brush your teeth for two minutes twice per day. Mouthwash and floss can help boost the effectiveness of your daily dental care routine. Be sure to visit your dentist at least twice each year for professional cleanings as well. All these measures can help keep your smile bright and your teeth and gums healthy.

Kim H.
Kim H.
Not a fan of going to the dentist. Ever. Wilmot Family Dentistry was a great experience. Alex soothed my nerves and made me laugh. Tito is a great hygienist. Dr. Lyman is amazing. He is a no pressure, only what you need type of dentist. Five stars aren’t enough to describe my experience!!
Raymond M.
Raymond M.
Had my 6 month cleaning with Michelle. She is the best! When I need full dental care, and I have had my share, Dr. Lyman takes his time and makes the entire procedure a pleasure.
Krysten K.
Krysten K.
Amazing place and amazing staff made me feel super comfortable would definitely recommend to everybody!
Teresa L H.
Teresa L H.
I 've been in this office for years, and always have a great experience. They treat me with respect and courtesy, The Dr is very good and kind.
Mina J.
Mina J.
Everyone at Wilmot family dentistry was very professional and friendly.ThanksDr. Lyman is great with his patients and takes time to explain things.
JoAnn L.
JoAnn L.
Hygienist did a great job cleaning my teeth and Dr. answered all my questions. Good experience.
sara M.
sara M.
I have been going to this office for years. Dr. Lyman is very kind and knowledgeable. I have a lot of anxiety going to the dentist and I am always walked through the process and they answer all the questions I have. I have some gum issues and he has really helped in the treatment plan.My son had an emergency dental procedure that needed to be done and they got him in the same day. Great office and staff highly recommend
Jalen N.
Jalen N.
Went to the dentist for the first time in a while and they made me feel super comfortable with zero judgment! They were also super gentle and have a super friendly environment! I’m excited to start my journey at this dentist!
Sherry H.
Sherry H.
After searching for a dentist office that fits my needs for almost a year, I am so thankful that I found Wilmot Family Dentistry! Dr. Lyman and staff are absolutely wonderful! If you are looking for a dentist who actually cares about the patient and not just the all mighty dollar, please go here! I would highly recommend them.
Karoline C
Karoline C
Timely appointment, nice staff, knowledgeable, kind and helpful hygienist. And Dr Lyman was his usual excellent self.
Logan R.
Logan R.
Great dentist. Worked to make my insurance covered what I needed done. Wonderful place.
becky T.
becky T.
The hygienist from Hawaii does such a great job cleaning teeth pain free. I went to Mexico and 2 crowns placed but she noted they left cement between my teeth that will cause breakdown/infection. She worked so hard to remove it but couldn’t get it all the dentist came in assessed the problem, says he sees this all the time but he can fix it, which is so great because I don’t want to undergo a root canal and another crown. He has placed prior crowns on my teeth and I have never had any issues. He did a great job 👏🏻 I highly recommend this office. I have went there for years. You won’t be disappointed. They will get you in quickly if your having a issue.Thank you Wilmot dental !!!
Laura S.
Laura S.
Everyone very nice
Jake E.
Jake E.
Best Dentist I have ever been to. Highly recommend them.
Maya B.
Maya B.
Always a friendly and understanding staff. Quick in and out with follow-up appointments made on the spot. Highly recommended
Paige H.
Paige H.
Always thorough, keeps me updated through every procedure, and a kind relaxed energy
Michael B.
Michael B.
They were great! I had some tooth pain and they got me in next day and addressed my issue.
Tina S.
Tina S.
I had an emergency dental problem and they got me in right away. Everyone was very nice and professional. They were able to fix my tooth and get rid of my pain.
Robert V.
Robert V.
Dr Lyman was very friendly and professional. Dr lyman explained the procedures so well made me feel relieved. Wonderful, atmosphere the Staff is so friendly and so welcoming. Thank you again for a amazing dental experience. Recommend this office for your dental needs.
M.J. M.
M.J. M.
Great place. Great people. Great service.
Louis S.
Louis S.
Everybody was so kind and extremely helpful in my visit. They explained everything to me unlike other dentist offices and are currently helping me get back into a schedule and routine for my oral health. 10/10 recommend!
sara L.
sara L.
I needed an emergency tooth pull and was in a lot of pain. Very glad to have found Wilmot Family Dentistry. They booked me a quick appointment and were very nice and professional. Liz, the dental assistant is fabulous and personable. Dr. is great. It finished quick and no pain.
Christine W
Christine W
Dr. Lyman and his staff are incredibly kind, patient and worked with us to get my son in on a difficult schedule. Very happy with this office and highly recommend!
Carmen R.
Carmen R.
I have been going to Wilmot Family Dental for a few years now. I have never had a bad experience. Dr. Lyman and the staff having been amazing each time. They are very friendly and nice.Will definitely keep going back and I strongly recommend them.
Amber P.
Amber P.
Exceptional experience for my family. My 7 year old needed a deeper cleaning and they took excellent care of her, she's actually looking forward to going back!Thanks for taking care of our smiles!
George E.
George E.
Everything about the dentistry was excellent! I was most impressed with the hygienist, Melissa. She is the finest dental hygienist I have ever had.
Iliganoa Selena I.
Iliganoa Selena I.
Dr. Lyman and his team are the best! The pano machine was down last week but they made sure to call me right away when it was fixed and scheduled me in the next week. Front desk is approachable, friendly and super nice. The wait times aren’t really long and that’s perfect! Thought I was only getting my X-rays today but they pulled through with pulling my wisdom teeth and reassured me everything was going to be ok. Recommend this dental for a family like feel. Definitely coming back again!
Monica T.
Monica T.
Everyone is so nice and friendly, highly recommended
Chris H.
Chris H.
I had a broken tooth. Hadn't been to see them for about 2 years. But as soon as I contacted their office. They got me in quickly and took great care of me. I appreciate their customer service and they're caring attitude. It's hard to find these days. I highly recommend them.
Lisa ann S.
Lisa ann S.
1st time. Broken tooth, needed extraction. I despise going to the dentist. Dr Lyman was very thorough, made sure I was pain free prior to tooth removal. Didn't feel a thing. Best experience in over 20yrs. I will be returning and recommending to others. Thanks Doc!!
Janet B.
Janet B.
Friendly staff and dentist. Kelsey was absolutely amazing! I
Christy
Christy
Very nice staff
Anna R.
Anna R.
It was refreshing to walk into a Dentist office where the front desk was nice and smiled! The hygienists were wonderful. I could hear my 15 year old daughter laughing in the other room with Inez. Staff and Dentist are super personable. We will see you all in August. Thank you!!!!
Mystri B.
Mystri B.
Wonderful staff! Thank you for all that you guys do!!
Beatriz R.
Beatriz R.
Great customer service.
M P
M P
Kelsie did a great job on my cleaning today. Both her and Dr. Lyman addressed my concerns and answered my questions thoroughly. I've continued to be pleased with this practice.Precious Review 2 years ago: Today, I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle, the new hygienist. What a great addition to this practice. Michelle was gentle and had a lovely chair side manner. She did great, Thank- you Michelle!My previous reviewI was very pleased with my recent experience at Wilmot Family Dentistry. Both Becca and Dr. Lyman were caring and addressed my concerns well. Treatment was pain free. Becca, Alanna and Dr. Lyman were gentle and kind. I recommend this practice.
STAY_ D.
STAY_ D.
They really took care of my son in short notice and got his tooth removed best family dentistry to go to. I recommend this dentistry for any family and military family they super well and great with kids.
O B
O B
Kelsey was amazing and friendly recommend this place
Robin R.
Robin R.
Wonderfully run office with helpful, pleasant efficient staff! I found familiar faces in the waiting room from where I live in a wonderful 55+ area. I will happily refer others.
Jennifer W.
Jennifer W.
This was my first visit. Everyone was very kind, knowledgeable, and informative. The cost was really reasonable. I would highly recommend.
Arthur K.
Arthur K.
Doctor Lyman and his staff are incredible. Update: January 2024. Had my 6-month check up and as usual I had a professional lady who was truly a hygienic specialist par excellence. She did a thorough job of cleaning my teeth, and she was as nice as she could be. I can't imagine ever giving less than a five-star review for Wilmot Family Dentistry.
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