Brush Teeth Twice Daily with Fluoride Toothpaste for Two Minutes
The ADA is very firm on this recommendation, which includes brushing often enough for a long enough time with the right tools. The ADA notes that each part of the recommendation is based on strong scientific evidence.
Studies show that brushing twice daily can reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease compared to less frequent brushing. For gum disease, this includes reducing the risk of receding gums, severe gum disease, and periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss. Gum disease is also the leading cause of dental implant failure. It’s often called peri-implantitis when it affects dental implants. Remember to brush your teeth twice daily when you have dental implants.
Fluoride toothpaste can reduce your risk of cavities by up to 30%. This comes from studies comparing fluoride toothpaste to toothpaste without fluoride and a placebo. If you don’t have any natural teeth remaining, this suggestion is less critical. Dental implants don’t develop cavities. However, it’s still worth using fluoride toothpaste even if you have just a few natural teeth. It will not harm your dental implants.
Studies show that brushing your teeth for at least two minutes removes more plaque than brushing for a shorter period. Since plaque contains oral bacteria that can cause cavities, this can also reduce your cavity risk. If you only have dental implants, you might be able to reduce the time you spend brushing, but it’s probably not worth it. Two minutes is a relatively short time to devote to brushing twice daily. It’s worth the trouble to protect your investment in dental implants.
How to Brush Your Teeth
The ADA also recommends other aspects of tooth brushing, even though they don’t have strong scientific evidence. Most dentists agree on two aspects of the toothbrushing technique: brushing all sides of the teeth and brushing at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
Brushing all sides of your teeth means brushing the side on the lingual, buccal, and occlusal sides. The lingual side is the side nearest your tongue, the one inside your arch of teeth. The buccal side is the side nearest your cheeks, the one on the outside of your arch. The occlusal side is the side that does the chewing–the sharp and/or flat parts that face the other teeth.
You should brush your teeth with the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums to help you clean the plaque that accumulates at the base of your teeth. This can help you avoid gum disease and cavities.
You can try other techniques, but dentists disagree with them. For some, an electric toothbrush might be helpful. Some people benefit from brushing more than twice a day.
Another possibility to consider is brushing your tongue. This may help control bad breath. However, evidence suggests that oral bacteria are relatively specialized, and the bacteria on your tongue might not colonize your teeth and gums, so brushing your tongue might not help your oral health much.