How often should I brush my teeth?

How many times a day should you brush your teeth?

Twice daily tooth brushing is essential! As soon as you finish brushing your teeth, the teeth begin to be coated with a sticky layer called the ‘pellicle’. This layer will automatically start to accumulate new plaque on the tooth surfaces. Plaque contains bacteria which is harmful to your teeth and gums by emitting toxins and acids. The longer you leave plaque on the tooth surface, the more bacteria will accumulate on the pellicle and the stickier to the tooth surface it will become. In a short time, this plaque can become so sticky that it is very difficult to remove effectively through tooth brushing alone.

Tooth brushing in the morning should be carried out approximately half an hour after breakfast. Brushing should occur after food is eaten so that all remaining food particles that are lodged in tooth crevices are removed. It is vital to try to wait at least half an hour before brushing so that you do not risk rubbing acid from breakfast time (from coffee, tea, orange juice) into the teeth, causing erosion and thinning of the enamel.

Tooth brushing at night before bed is arguably even more important than in the morning. This is because saliva flow decreases at night time, meaning that you will likely have more of a dry mouth while you sleep. Saliva is important for its buffering capacity, meaning that it is able to neutralise acidic environments created by bacteria in plaque. If night time brushing is missed, this means that there is increased acid from plaque and an impaired neutralising capability from decreased saliva flow. The result- a higher risk of developing decay! Also, be assured that you brush your teeth after you have finished eating for the evening….our dentists do not recommend eating sneaky chocolates before bed!