When it comes to oral health, brushing your teeth is a nonnegotiable. Like flossing and drinking plenty of water, it’s something that you should be doing day in and day out. Most people fit the habit into their daily routine, typically in the morning and at night, performing it so often that it feels like they’re on autopilot. But in an ideal world, how often should you brush your teeth? Is once a day fine? Would you be better off brushing after every meal? Let’s discuss . . .
How Often Should You Brush Your Teeth?
Let’s see what the experts have to say.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you brush your teeth twice each day. They don’t specify exactly when you should brush your teeth during the course of the day, but they do have several other important tips:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or when the bristles fray.
- Use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
- Brush for two minutes each time.
- Floss your teeth once a day.
- Eat a balanced diet that limits sugary foods and drinks.
- Visit your dentist regularly for preventative care.
The Academy of General Dentistry concurs, offering this helpful reminder: “Remember your 2s: 2 minutes, 2 times a day. Everyone in your family should be brushing their teeth for at least 2 minutes every time they brush – and they should be brushing their teeth twice per day.”
So how often should you brush your teeth? Just two times in the course of 24 hours. Brushing your teeth twice each day will remove food particles and pesky plaque (a sticky, white film containing bacteria). Keep in mind that if plaque is allowed to fester, it will produce acids that attack your teeth’s protective enamel. Brushing twice a day effectively removes plaque, ensuring that it’s never allowed to sit on your teeth for long.
What Will Happen If I Brush More Often?
Although dental experts advise brushing twice per day, some people wish to brush more often. They might prefer to brush three times a day to keep their breath smelling fresh. Or maybe they like to brush their teeth following every meal and snack, so that food particles (especially dangerous sugars and acids) are always quickly scrubbed off the teeth and rinsed away. Is it dangerous to brush your teeth more than twice per day?
Brushing your teeth more than twice a day is not inherently a bad thing, especially if you’re brushing your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and ADA-approved toothpaste. The danger lies in brushing your teeth too aggressively.
Vigorous brushing can cause gum recession and wear down tooth enamel, leaving your teeth vulnerable and sensitive. So if you do prefer to brush three times a day, just be sure that you’re still using good brushing habits and listening to the recommendations of your dentist and dental hygienist at your bi-yearly appointments.
One final note: Beware of brushing your teeth immediately after consuming acidic foods or beverages. After you eat an acidic food (like sour candy, pickles, or citrus fruit) or drink an acidic beverage (like coffee, fruit juice, or wine), you might be tempted to brush your teeth ASAP to get the acid off your teeth. However, this can actually scrub the acid across your teeth, increasing the likelihood of weakened tooth enamel. Instead of brushing right away, drink some water to neutralize the acid. Then, about 20-30 minutes later, you can brush your teeth.
For more on this subject, check out our blog post Can You Brush Your Teeth Too Much?
If you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist in Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!