Brushing teeth is a crucial part of any good oral hygiene routine. Proper tooth brushing removes plague and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay or gum disease.
But when did we start brushing our teeth? What is the right way to brush your teeth? Is it really that bad not to brush before bed? Read on to find out the answers to these questions and more.
The History of Brushing Teeth
For thousands of years humans have been brushing their teeth. Ancient Egyptians would use twigs and leaves to brush, a practice also used in other cultures such as the Arabs, Romans and Greeks.
Thomas Addis is credited with the invention of the modern day toothbrush. While in jail in 1780, he drilled holes in a sheep's tibia and pulled through the bristles of boar hair.
Regular tooth brushing didn't become part of the American dental routine until after the World War II, when soldiers continued the toothbrushing that was required during their military service.
Tooth Brushing Equipment
There are a few pieces of equipment needed for proper tooth brushing.
Toothbrush. The most important piece of the puzzle! Modern toothbrushes are made from synthetic bristles and come in a range of forms and sizes. Most dentists recommend using a brush labeled "soft", since firmer bristles can damage enamel.
Toothpaste. This is used to aid in the cleaning of the teeth and to provide some aesthetic improvements, such as tooth whitening. Toothpaste delivers fluoride and can help mask halitosis (or bad breath).
It's important to brush using proper technique, to ensure removal of plague and to prevent damage to gums or enamel.
- Place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your teeth.
- Move the brush back and forth in short strokes.
- Brush the outer surface of your upper then lower teeth.
- Brush the inner surface of your upper then lower teeth.
- Brush the chewing surfaces.
- Brush your tongue for fresh breath.
You should brush for at least 2 minutes and don't forget to change your toothbrush every 3 months!
Potomac Pediatric Dentistry can answer all your tooth brushing questions. From early developmental exams and cleanings for toddlers, to broken teeth and braces in teens, Dr Le and Dr Lee will ensure your child receives the most modern care in a comfortable, kid friendly atmosphere.
Schedule an appointment today for your child to begin a lifetime of good oral hygiene!