Do you brush your teeth at least twice per day? Yes?
Did you brush them thoroughly – for two minutes each time? Ugh?
Most people probably flunk the tooth brushing test. Then they are mystified when their dentists find cavities, gum disease or worse.
“Sometimes, we have to go back to the basics of tooth brushing, with patients of all ages,” said Gulfport dentist Vernon Beamon, D.M.D.
Dr. Beamon specializes in general dentistry. His Beamon Dental clinic is at 400 Courthouse Plaza in Gulfport, Miss. – on the corner of Pass and Courthouse Roads, behind French's Drug.
First of all, choose your weapon (toothbrush) wisely. “The softer the bristles, the better,” Dr. Beamon said. “I personally
feel the manual and electric brushes only are going to be as good as the brusher. They both are equally effective, as long as you brush thoroughly for two minutes – twice per day!
“An electric toothbrush, however, may help people with arthritis or dexterity problems,” he added.
If two minutes seems like an eternity, change your toothbrushing routine. Brush your teeth while doing something enjoyable -– play favorite songs, watch TV, check the news, exercise your legs while seated (since you don’t want to fall with the brush in your mouth!) If you have young children, make brushing together a fun family event.
Brushing harder or faster doesn’t make up for not brushing long enough. In fact, aggressive brushing can cause gums to recede, which exposes roots of teeth and leads to sensitivity and other dental problems, Dr. Beamon explained.
The best tooth brushing technique, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), is: Point the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle (an upwards angle for upper teeth and a downward angle for lower teeth). Brush back and forth gently in short tooth-wide strokes. Brush the outer surfaces, the tops (chewing surfaces) and the inner surfaces of all teeth. Brush vertically to get behind front teeth.
Be sure to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before you brush, the ADA recommends. Food and drink produce acid that temporarily weakens the enamel. Be sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
Finally, the ADA recommends that people have regular dental checkups, with professional teeth cleaning.
For an appointment, call Beamon Dental today at (228) 896-3600. We serve patients from across the Mississippi Gulf Coast in our Gulfport clinic.