The majority of the population know that brushing your teeth twice a day is essential for oral health. However, few know why brushing their teeth is so critical. With research revealing that millions of UK citizens only brush once a day(1) it is important to understand the purpose of brushing at least twice a day and its benefits.
Keep Breath Fresh
Understandably, an accumulation of food debris and subsequent bacteria in the mouth is going to result in bad breath. Preventing bacteria build up with regular brushing is key for maintaining fresh breath and preventing halitosis. Other steps you can take to prevent food from becoming trapped between brushing includes drinking water and chewing sugar free gum.
Prevent Gum Disease
Whilst poor diet, avoiding your dentist and sometimes even your biology can cause excessive plaque, more often than not it is down to lack of brushing. Everyone has some level of plaque build-up in their mouths and this is often caused by leftover food that has not been brushed, flossed or washed away.
This food deposit results in bacteria and hardens and is a white or yellowish substance found between the teeth and at the gum line. The bacteria in the plaque irritates the gums and causes inflammation and bleeding of the gums upon brushing. This is also known as gingivitis and is the first stage of gum disease.
Keeping on top of brushing twice a day for three minutes will help prevent gum disease by not allowing plaque to form. Both manual and electric toothbrushes are effective and thorough brushing is recommended.
Remove Staining on Teeth
Investing in a quality toothpaste and using it at least twice a day will help keep your teeth plaque free and any unwanted mouth odour at bay. If you have discolouration or stains on your teeth a low-abrasion toothpaste would be a fantastic solution. Not only would it help eliminate bad breath and protect your teeth and gums from bacteria, but also gently remove stains over time that are caused by the likes of coffee and red wine.
Brushing May Help Prevent Dementia
Research revealed that gum disease sufferers are more likely to get dementia(2). The study, which was carried out by the Chung Shan Medical University and the National Defence Medical Center and published in the Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy, found that people who had chronic periodontitis for 10 or more years had a 70% higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s than people without chronic periodontitis.
Gum Disease and Pregnancy
Not only can gum disease effect fertility(3), it can also affect babies that have been conceived. Women with periodontitis have been show to have an increased chance of their babies being born prematurely and underweight(4).
When pregnant, anything you ingest will be passed to the baby, hence why drinking alcohol and consuming too much caffeine aren’t advised for a pregnancy diet. When you don’t brush your teeth, the bacteria build-up in your mouth gets into your blood stream, which is also the blood steam of your baby, putting them at potential risk. Paying close attention to oral hygiene throughout pregnancy is the safest option.
Reduces Chance of Major Illnesses
Just in the same way bacteria from plaque build up can enter the bloodstream and affect babies in the womb, the same can be said for your arteries. Bacteria in the blood increases the likelihood of cholesterol build up. Gum disease is often linked to atherosclerosis(5), a condition which causes compounds to adhere to arteries walls, causing obstructions. If these obstructions become blockages the individual can suffer a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, it is best to keep plaque at bay, especially if you are over 50.
Save Yourself Money
You don’t have to pay for NHS dental treatment if you’re under 18, in full time education, pregnant, or have had a baby in the past 12 months. Considering this does not account for the majority of the population, you can expect to pay for dentist visits. Brushing your teeth and keeping no top of your oral health is key if you don’t want high dental bills in the future.
- Fishwick, C. 2017. How often should you brush your teeth. Available online: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2017/oct/24/tooth-brushing-once-twice-daily-vox-pop
- NHS Choices. 2017. Gum disease linked to increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Available online: https://www.nhs.uk/news/neurology/gum-disease-linked-increased-risk-alzheimers-disease/
- University of 2017. Common periodontal pathogen may interfere with conception in women. Science Daily. Available online: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170612153549.htm
- Walia, M and Saini, N. 2015. Relationship between periodontal diseases and preterm birth: Recent epidemiological and biological data. Available online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4318095/
- Paddock PhD, C. 2017. Clogged arteries may be down to bacteria, not diet. Available online: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319967.php