Brushing your teeth is the simplest and most cost-effective way to preserve your oral health and to enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. But it has to become a habit – it has to be something that you do every single day, whether you “feel like it” or not.
It’s interesting how often adults allow their tooth brushing to lapse. Or they might forget about the proper brushing technique, or how often to brush.
Do you know how often you’re supposed to brush your teeth? Let’s take a pop quiz:
People should brush their teeth….
- At least once a week
- Every day – in the morning
- Every day – at night
- Every day, but only after lunch
- Every day – twice a day – at night and in the morning
The answer is… e!
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that people brush their teeth twice every day – once at night before going to bed, and once in the morning. Brushing your teeth at night helps to remove bacteria and keeps your mouth clean while you sleep. Brushing your teeth in the morning helps freshen your breath and removes any bacteria that built up during the long night of sleep.
But what if you only have time to brush your teeth once a day, or what if you forget?
In that case – and again, you should always try to brush twice each day – it’s most important to brush at night before going to bed. The reason? During the eight (or so) hours that you are asleep, the bacteria in your mouth have an entire night to themselves. This makes it especially important to brush your teeth before going to sleep.
For example, if you drink a can of soda or eat something sugary right before bed, and then go to sleep without brushing your teeth, you are basically allowing the bacteria on your teeth to have a party all night without supervision!
But by brushing your teeth at night, you are getting a head start on the constant battle that goes on inside your mouth every night. You are beating back the bacteria and preventing them from damaging your teeth and gums. (Okay, maybe it’s not always quite as dramatic as that – but you get the picture, right?)
In addition to brushing your teeth twice a day, the ADA recommends that you floss once a day as well. Flossing is important because it allows you to clean in between your teeth – removing bacteria and plaque, and keeping your gums healthy. Flossing helps keep your gums in shape – if you don’t floss often enough, your gums might bleed, which, if you’re not careful, can be a sign of possible gum disease and infections.