You know the importance of brushing your teeth, but how much do you know about the science behind brushing? There is an entire world of dental science behind this daily task that most of us have never thought about. This science, though, is what can take your teeth from passable to perfect!
Before we discuss what the science behind brushing is, we have to remember exactly why we brush!
Brushing your teeth helps prevent:
– Tooth decay
– Yellow teeth
– Tooth loss
– Gum Disease / Gingivitis
1) Brushing immediately after eating can erode tooth enamel!
After eating foods that are high in sugar or carbohydrates, the enamel on your teeth becomes softened. This is because the sugars and carbohydrates break down into glucose, which is a mild acid. Any sort of acidic food or drink can weaken your enamel, which can then be accidentally brushed away.
Even fruits are high in enamel-softening sugars. Though fruit is a healthy snack, the natural sugars break down in the same way as other sugars. Some fruits, like oranges and pineapples, even contain other acids that weaken enamel even more. Enamel, which is usually the strongest part of your body, can easily be brushed away in this case. Enamel does not grow back, meaning your teeth are at higher risk to decay or get cavities. Remember that if your teeth are yellowing, this is also a sign of decay!
You should wait approximately 30 to 60 minutes after eating to preserve your enamel. If you want to freshen your breath, sugar-free gum is a great alternative. Though this might seem unnecessary, this little change could greatly improve your oral hygiene and reduce sensitivity!
2) You don’t have to brush first thing in the morning.
Even if you have a case of bed-breath, you do not actually need to brush first thing in the morning! A lot of people often brush their teeth right after waking up to kill any bacteria that got into their mouth overnight. However, assuming you brushed your teeth before going to bed, your teeth should still be pretty clean! Without food in your teeth, bacteria has nothing to grow on.
Instead, you can eat your breakfast, wait an hour, then brush your teeth to have fresh breath for the day! This is not permission to only brush your teeth before bed, though. Brushing – and flossing – twice a day is still essential to proper oral hygiene.
3) Saliva is how your teeth protect themselves!
Your saliva does more than just help you chew and digest – it plays a large role in your oral health! For instance, saliva is 99% water which helps to keep a barrier between your teeth and bacteria. This water barrier helps to prevent bacteria from eating away at enamel – and drinking more water helps this even more!
Additionally, saliva is why you don’t need to brush your teeth right after eating. Saliva naturally cleans away food that gets stuck between your teeth before it can become acidic and soften your enamel. Your saliva holds onto these bits of food until they get washed away with a drink!
Finally, saliva is filled with antimicrobial properties. Your saliva has antimicrobial agents that battle microorganisms and stop their growth. This helps prevent the development or growth of any bacteria that could lead to cavities.
4) Your toothbrush might have more bacteria than you realize.
There are two simple things you can do for your toothbrush that can make it a lot better at cleaning. The first one is flushing your toilet with the seat down. It sounds gross, but a flushing toilet can throw small drops of water up to 2.7 feet away. Any toothbrush in that range will get bacteria on its bristles, meaning it cannot clean as well. To stop this, just flush with the seat down or keep your toothbrush in another room.
The second is not to place a cap on your toothbrush. Using a cap while traveling protects your brush from any dirt or germs in your bag. However, placing a cap on it after each use can create a breeding ground for bacteria. The cap traps warmth and moisture, making it the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Then when you brush your teeth, this bacteria stays behind in your mouth and can cause tooth or gum disease. If you are worried about keeping your brush clean, try dipping the bristles in hydrogen peroxide before you brush. Also, remember to use a new toothbrush every 3-4 months!