Your teeth are made up of 4 parts: enamel, dentin, cementum, and pulp, and each one of these parts is important to the development and life of your teeth. When any one of these parts begins to encounter trouble, it means problems for the rest of the tooth.
You are born with two sets of teeth, the first set, your baby or milk teeth, should fall out by the time you are in your early twenties at the latest. That means that you have your second set, or permanent teeth, for the rest of your life, or on average 50 to 80 years. That’s a long time for a bone-like structure to stay in good shape, but there are plenty of ways to ensure that your teeth stay strong well into the later part of your life.
There are lots of tips out there to help you brush your teeth properly, but here are 4 toothbrush tips that will ensure that you pick the right tool for the job. You wouldn’t want to use a hammer to set a screw, and in much the same way, there are plenty of different types of toothbrushes that help your teeth and gums in different ways. Picking the right toothbrush for you is important and something that your dentist can help you with.
The first toothbrush tip might seem a bit obvious, but the numbers behind this tip do not lie. Change your toothbrush every three months or so, or when the bristles begin to fray. They are not called “gum brushes,” and a frayed toothbrush can hack at the gum lining of a tooth and damage it almost beyond repair. Your gums are just important to your teeth as any of the other parts of your mouth, and treating them well will not only increase the strength of your teeth, but also the longevity. A worn gum can let in all sorts of bacteria and microbes that can be harmful to your teeth and add to the amount of decay that can erode the root of your tooth and cause tooth loss. Toothbrushes are fairly inexpensive, especially when you consider the cost of the damage an overused brush can cause.
There are many different types of brushes out there, and each one promises to clean your teeth in a better way, or protect your gums better than the competitor — finding the toothbrush that is right for you is tip number 2. Having a toothbrush is the first step, but having the best toothbrush for you will go a lot further in keeping your teeth in their best condition. A soft-bristled brush will do some of the best work in your mouth while protecting your gums. The soft bristles will fray a bit more quickly than hard bristles, which will help you remember to replace your toothbrush more frequently. For those who do not have the manual dexterity required to reach all of their teeth, an electronic brush is recommended. Not only do they help keep your teeth as clean or cleaner than a manual brush, they will save your wrist joints if brushing is painful.
Storing your toothbrush is the third toothbrush tip that will increase the life and health of your brush and your teeth. Keep your toothbrush well away from your toilet. Not only are there thousands of bacteria around your toilet, as well as your mouth, they are not the same bacteria. The bacterial balance of your mouth is important in the breakdown of food, and your mouth’s defenses are not necessarily built to stop the invasion of harmful bacteria from other places in your bathroom. Keep your toothbrush dry and upright, which will ensure that unwanted bacteria do not grow on the bristles.
Finally, brush your teeth at least twice a day no matter what type of brush you use. Two minutes or more is recommended, and not that hard to follow twice a day. If you want to brush more than twice a day, after every meal is an excellent way to get rid of unwanted food particles as well as keep your breath fresh. Your teeth have vertical ridges that require vertical brushing, so don’t get stuck just brushing horizontally, as that will not get to all of the plaque and buildup.
Dr. Joseph Zelig, D.D.S., is a Board Certified Periodontist and a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology. As the cosmetic dentist NYC residents trust, Dr. Zelig is currently practicing at Smile in the City located in Manhattan, New York.