By Brent Cornelius from Brent Cornelius Dentistry
If you brush your teeth twice a day religiously with fluoride toothpaste, good for you! You’re taking an important step toward preventing cavities and tooth decay.
But while brushing your teeth every day is important, doing so isn’t going to prevent cavities. Why not? Read below:
Brushing your teeth does get a good amount of plaque from your teeth, but it can’t get all of it.
Why can’t it get all of the plaque that builds up on your teeth? Because brushing with a toothbrush can’t get between your teeth! That’s why it’s important to floss at least once a day. (It’s best to floss and brush at the same time, but you should floss at minimum once a day).
In fact, if you’re ever stuck on a desert island, make sure you have floss with you because if you don’t have a toothbrush, your tongue can get a good amount of bacteria off your teeth, but your tongue can’t get between your teeth. So if stuck between flossing and brushing, floss! (But you’re more than likely not on a desert island or far from a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, so there’s no excuse: brush your teeth!)
We eat so much sugar, it’s a wonder our teeth aren’t completely cavity-riddled.
The American Heart Association reported in 2014 that the average American eats about 20 teaspoons of sugar each day, an amount more than double what we should be consuming. (According to the American Heart Association, women should consume less than six teaspoons a day and men should consume no more than nine teaspoons.)
You may think that you’re safe because you rarely eat sweets, but so much of the food we eat today has a ton of “hidden” sugar in it. One tablespoon of ketchup, for example, has four grams of sugar (more than in a chocolate chip cookie)!
Tooth decay starts when sugary or starchy foods and drinks stay on our teeth and then interact with the bacteria-producing acid that’s on our teeth to dissolve our tooth enamel. Once the enamel is worn down, the inside dentin layer of our tooth becomes exposed, leading to a cavity.
And it doesn’t take long at all for sugars/starches to start teaming up with the bacteria to start dissolving our tooth enamel: if you eat frequently (snacks) between sessions of brushing, the sugars remain there and can keep a thin layer of acid on your teeth, allowing for plaque buildup.
So the best thing to do is to brush your teeth each time you eat. That’s probably not possible, but that’s why it’s best to cut your way back on your sugar/starch intake.
Visit your dentist at least twice a year to get rid of the plaque brushing and flossing didn’t remove.
Plaque buildup will lead to tooth decay. End of story. Since brushing and flossing won’t get all of it from your teeth (because even the best of us skip sessions every now and then), it’s important to visit your dentist’s office at least twice a year to get that remaining plaque removed from your teeth.
Read the original here.