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Frequent brushing can stop plaque build-up and help prevent calculus on teeth. Many of foods we eat contain additives that are bad for teeth and gums. Over time, consuming these foods can cause plaque to build up and cling to teeth. Long term, that plaque can release bacteria and harmful acids, and the build-up can eventually calcify, turning into tartar (dental calculus). 

In this article, we'll discuss several ways to promote dental health, but keeping up a steady and thorough brushing routine is top.

How Many Times a Day Should You Brush?

It is recommended by oral health professionals that you brush your teeth twice daily for at least two minutes each time.

Brushing twice per day ensures you give each tooth enough attention. It also discourages food particles and other unwanted bacteria from sitting on your teeth for too long.

While brushing twice a day is the standard recommendation, you may want to brush after each meal or after eating certain foods that can lead to plaque build-up for extra protection. Some of the biggest contributors to plaque are foods and beverages that are high in sugar, starches, or acid, like soda, chips, cookies, cakes, and candy.

How much toothpaste you should use may very, but generally a pea-sized amount is sufficient. Additionally, you should change your toothbrush after about 3 to 4 months at most. While toothpaste itself has an expiration date, it's typically two years.

How to Have a Complete Oral Care Routine

Besides brushing twice each day, flossing daily, using an antiseptic mouthwash, and having a total oral health routine can ensure you're taking care of your teeth.

1. Brush Correctly

Use soft bristles and gentle circles along the gum line and on each tooth.

2. Brush Your Tongue

Brush or scrape your tongue each time you brush to prevent bad breath. Fill your mouth with water, letting it run out while you clean. This will help flush away those odors.

3. Floss Daily

Flossing helps get to the small spaces inside your mouth that toothbrushes may miss. Brushing with fluoride can help avoid cavities on your teeth, while cavities in between your teeth can be avoided by flossing at least once a day.

4. Use Mouth Rinse

Rinsing with a mouthwash will assist in releasing food particles from on and between your teeth (similar to flossing), as liquid can get between the places that a toothbrush alone cannot. A mouth rinse can also aid in saliva production and help your mouth rinse itself throughout the day.

5. Use the Right Toothpaste

Fluoride toothpaste fights cavities by strengthening tooth enamel. If you're unable to use fluoride, look for a fluoride-free toothpaste with hydroxyapatite to remineralize enamel and charcoal and baking soda to help whiten teeth. Twice has both fluoride and fluoride-free hydroxyapatite toothpastes available. 

What Issues Can Proper Brushing Help Prevent?

A few risks of not brushing your teeth adequately can include gingivitis, bad breath, and discoloration. Some are more serious than others, but all are worth knowing about.

1. Discoloration

Beverages like coffee and tea can leave not just residue on our teeth, but unsightly stains. Discolored teeth may not be harmful, but neither are they desirable. Brushing twice a day with a whitening toothpasteas well as after drinking your morning coffee, will help remove these stains without the use of harsh bleaches and peroxides.

2. Bad Breath

Food bacteria can hang out on your tongue and between your teeth, and it won’t just rinse away with water alone. Have you ever eaten a delicious meal that contained potent ingredients like onions or garlic? As soon as a meal like that is over, you just can’t wait to brush the odor off of your teeth and tongue. Brushing, flossing, and using a mouthwash regularly will help cleanse and break-down odor-causing bacteria and keep your breath smelling minty fresh.

3. Cavities

Cavities, the result of bacteria and plaque building up on your teeth, are the most commonly recognized consequence of not brushing thoroughly or frequently enough. This plaque, if it gets time to sit, will attach to the enamel of your teeth. Plaque build-up can lead to enamel damage, tartar, or tooth decay (cavities).

Brushing enough will stop this process, while using a fluoride toothpaste will help protect your enamel and deter cavity-causing plaque build-up. 

4. Tooth Loss

If cavities exist on your teeth, and the decay has had the time to continue causing deterioration, the damage may go beyond the enamel and dentin layers into the root, causing infection, pain, and irritation. If this happens, a root canal may be needed to try and save the tooth. Otherwise, a tooth sustaining too much decay may need to be replaced with an artificial tooth. To avoid tooth loss, continue to brush as recommended.

5. Gingivitis

Gingivitis, a form of gum disease that can cause inflamed gums, can occur when plaque hangs out along the top of your teeth where they meet the gum line. Plaque can move up under the gums, causing swelling and irritation. While gingivitis is uncomfortable, it is not an issue concerning damage to your mouth. However, if gingivitis turns into periodontitis, problematic damage may occur. To help prevent gingivitis, make sure that you focus on brushing your gum line as well as your teeth.

Key Takeaway

Years ago, proponents of teeth brushing advocated for its aesthetic benefits, marketing toothpaste and toothbrushes to people who wanted to look beautiful. While a beautiful smile can still be achieved by brushing with a whitening toothpaste, we now know that the benefits of brushing go beyond just beauty.

Now that you know the benefits of brushing your twice per day for two minutes, as well as how to have a complete oral care routine, you have the knowledge you need to keep your teeth healthy for years to come.


This page was written or reviewed for accuracy by the Twice Team. Learn more about us.