Healthy Teeth Healthy You
Forty million. One hundred million. One hundred seventy-eight million. Three and a
half BILLION. I wish these numbers were referring to the amount of money in my
bank accounts, but sadly, all these number are referring to a much more serious
issue - ORAL HEALTH!
Over 40 million American’s are missing ALL their teeth
Over 100 million American’s lack dental insurance
Over 178 million American’s are missing at least one tooth
Over 3.5 billion people worldwide are dealing with the effects of oral disease
You may find yourself in one, or more, of these groups. Clearly, you are not alone. In
the past, insurance companies have not seen oral health as something tied to
overall health, which meant they did not offer dental coverage. This is part of the
reason so many people are facing the hardships that come with poor oral health.
The other reason for poor oral health usually comes from our own laziness. In this
four-part series, we will discuss what BASIC steps we can take to improve our own
Step One – Brush Your Teeth.
You may be thinking, “DUH. I know that is important!” But let’s dive into what
“brushing your teeth” really means.
- Brush TWICE a day
According to the Mayo Clinic, a proper brushing session
should take TWO minutes. That is FOUR minutes each day. How long do you usually
brush? Now think, how long do you spend on social media? Could you maybe spend
four less minutes on social media and use that time to brush your teeth more
- Brush your TONGUE!
Bacteria live on your tongue as well as on and in-between
your teeth. Do not neglect your tongue. Include it each time you brush your teeth.
- Brush CORRECTLY.
According to the ADA your toothbrush should be at a 45-degree
angle. GENTLY move the brush in strokes the width of your teeth. Brush gently but
thoroughly. Brush the inside surfaces, outside surfaces, and the chewing surfaces.
You can tilt the toothbrush vertical to reach specific teeth with more of an up-and-
down stroke. Do not brush your teeth like you would scrub a greasy pan. Brushing
hard causes damage to your teeth and gums.
- Choose the CORRECT TOOTHBRUSH.
Find a brush that fits your mouth and tooth
size. Make sure the bristles are not too tough for your teeth and gums. If brushing
correctly with a regular toothbrush is hard for you because of physical limits or bad
habits, consider an electric toothbrush.
- Keep your toothbrush CLEAN.
Rinse the brush thoroughly with water after each
brushing session. Let your toothbrush air-dry between cleanings. If you can, store
your toothbrush upright, and in its own container. This will prevent cross-
contamination between bacteria on other toothbrushes. Get a new toothbrush every
My guess is, there is something we can all learn about brushing our teeth correctly
and thoroughly. I challenge you to find one way to improve your brushing technique
from this list. Your oral health and overall health can benefit by getting back to the
basics of how to correctly brush your teeth.