How Does Brushing Teeth with Toothpaste Prevent Cavities?
Brushing your teeth with toothpaste helps to remove a sticky film called plaque. Plaque contains germs that can cause cavities and gum disease. Shortly after you consume sugary foods or beverages, the bacteria in plaque begins to produce acids that attack tooth enamel.
In order to control this decaying process, you must control plaque with regular brushing and proper diet. Most toothpaste contains abrasives, detergents, foaming agents and a special ingredient called fluoride. Many scientists believe that fluoride helps keep teeth from decaying by hardening the enamel of the teeth. So you should always be sure your toothpaste contains fluoride.
About 1 person in 10 has a tendency to accumulate tartar quickly. Tartar is plaque in a hardened form that is more damaging and difficult to remove. Using anti-tartar toothpastes and mouthwashes, as well as spending extra time brushing the teeth near the salivary glands (the inside of the lower front teeth and the outside of the upper back teeth) may slow the development of new tartar.
If you have teeth that are sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure, you may want to try special toothpaste for sensitive teeth. But you’ll still need to talk to your dentist about your sensitivity because it may indicate a more serious problem, such as a cavity or nerve inflammation (irritation).
Dentists say that the minimum time you should spend brushing your teeth is 2 minutes twice a day. Here are some tips on how to brush properly:
Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle against your gumline. Gently brush from where the tooth and gum meet to the chewing surface in short (about half-a-tooth-wide) strokes. Brushing too hard can cause receding gums, tooth sensitivity, and, over time, loose teeth.
Use the same method to brush all outside and inside surfaces of your teeth.
To clean the chewing surfaces of your teeth, use short sweeping strokes, tipping the bristles into the pits and crevices.
To clean the inside surfaces of your top and bottom front teeth and gums, hold the brush almost vertical. With back and forth motions, bring the front part of the brush over the teeth and gums.
Using a forward-sweeping motion, gently brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth to remove the decay-causing bacteria that exist in these places.
Use an egg timer or play a favorite song while brushing your teeth to get used to brushing for a full 2 to 3 minutes. Some electronic toothbrushes have timers that let you know when 2 minutes are up.