Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Toothy Tuesdays: When to Brush
So the girls here at PLSB figured that we may as well put some of the junk we've learned over the past three years to good use. Friends always have teeth questions, and there are lots of random facts non-dentites might like to know.
The do's and don'ts of brushing:
DO brush your teeth before you go to sleep at night and do not eat or drink anything afterward. This is so important because your saliva flow rate is very low while you sleep so all the bacteria and food debris from the day are just chilling out on your teeth with no natural wash system. It also doesn't hurt to use a fluoride mouth rinse before you sleep, just make sure it's alcohol free. Alcohol in mouthrinses tends to dry out the mouth and make it harder to swish it for an adequate amount of time.
Do Not brush your teeth right after you eat a meal. Many super on top of it people think they are doing a good deed by rushing to the bathroom at work after lunch to brush their teeth, but what they don't realize is that they are being very harsh on their enamel. Most meals are going to be acid rich, especially if you are a diet coke drinker. So during the meal you have exposed the teeth to acid, weakening their outer coat, then you go and abrade the weakened surface with a toothbrush. It's better to wait about thirty minutes or make sure you have rinsed with water first to bring your pH levels all back to normal. The same goes for barfing (which obviously shouldn't be a frequent event). Do NOT brush your teeth right after throwing up. Wait it out and rinse with water.
Do use a brushing technique that focuses on your gums. Mentally break up your mouth into four quadrants and brush with the tooth brush bristles tilted toward the gum line as this is where plaque will accumulate and fill in the little troughs between your teeth and your gums. Periodontal disease is rampant and serious, readers! When people brush one side in circles with their teeth biting together they are really only getting half of the upper teeth and half of the lower teeth. Also make sure you get the back sides of the lower front teeth. That is a mega plaque trap spot because often the teeth in that area are crowded and the saliva glands dump and pool right in that area.