So, why are only 1 in 8 of us doing so since lockdown?
A recent study has indicated that during and following the easing of lockdown, only one in eight of us have been brushing our teeth twice a day.
Perhaps equally worrying are the findings that nearly half of those asked admitted that they only brushed their teeth once a day at most and nearly 20% admitted to not brushing their teeth regularly on a daily basis at all!
Although we appreciate that lockdown disrupted our lives in many ways, it appears that some of this may have lingered on for longer afterwards, and probably into the future as well unless we change our habits.
As dental professionals, we find these results a little staggering. It is common knowledge that brushing your teeth is the single most important thing that you can do to protect your teeth on a daily basis. It appears though, that there are still some significant misunderstandings about how important this is. For the benefit of the Woking patients of Synergy Parkside, we attempt to address some of the likely issues below.
The ‘once a day is enough’ myth
It seems that some people believe that you only need to brush your teeth at night and that the mornings are much less important. The logic for this, we presume, is that this follows a day of eating, whereas, in the morning, you haven’t eaten anything since you went to bed so there is no need to brush. Whilst this might seem logical, it is a big mistake.
Although it may be true that you haven’t eaten whilst you slept, this is a time when potentially harmful bacteria can build up in the mouth, and in significant numbers, especially if you have a dry mouth. This can lead to both gum disease and tooth decay. It is thought that over 3/4 of millennials have undetected tooth decay, and this could be one of the reasons why.
Not only will these bacteria accumulate overnight but, if you don’t brush your teeth in the morning they will stay with you for the rest of the day. This lengthy period means that a lot of damage can occur before you eventually brush your teeth at night.
Changing your habits
Habits are just that. They are things that we do routinely without thinking. Sometimes this is a good thing but some habits, such as this one, are harmful and we need to address them and make some changes; in this case, to avoid further decline in our oral health. Making changes and creating better habits isn’t always easy to do, but it does present an opportunity to start again. To help with this, we offer what we consider to be very good advice to help you do this correctly and to help you keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.
Throw away your old toothbrush or electric brush head and start again. Too many people use ones with tired and worn out bristles that are less effective at removing food and bacteria. You should change them every three months so make a fresh start with new ones today.
Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride. Most do, but some may not, especially some ‘natural’ ones. Fluoride is essential for strong dental enamel.
If you have a tendency to skip the morning brushing, set an alert on your phone and do it when it goes off. It doesn’t matter too much if you do this before or after breakfast although we feel after is probably better as long as you leave around 30 minutes after eating before doing so, to allow the tooth enamel time to harden and recover.
Remember to brush your teeth the very last thing at night. You should never eat or drink anything at all other than water after your night time brushing otherwise your teeth will be coated with sugars whilst you sleep.
It is important to remember that if you haven’t been brushing your teeth correctly or often enough, the above won’t reverse any tooth decay that you already have, though it may help to reverse mild gum disease. Although you can start this new regime at any time, we also strongly recommend that you visit Synergy Parkside for a check up and any treatment that may be necessary to restore your teeth as soon as you can. We also recommend a thorough professional tooth cleaning by our dental hygienist. If you do this, and maintain a good brushing routine as mentioned above, you will be on the right track to keeping your mouth clean and healthy in the future!
To make an appointment to see the dentist or hygienist at our Woking practice, please call us on 01483 766355.