Got Cavities? You're Probably Not Brushing Your Teeth Long Enough Or Properly

If you brush your teeth regularly but still manage to get cavities, you're probably not brushing your teeth long enough. Although brushing your teeth may seem like the easiest things to do, you can still experience tooth decay if you don't take time to brush your teeth properly. Cavities aren't the only problems associated with improper brushing. You can also make your gums vulnerable to disease and inflammation, which can potentially lead to tooth loss. Here's how plaque affects your teeth and what you can do to keep tooth decay and other problems at bay. 

How Long Does It Take For Plaque to Form on Your Teeth?

According to the Colgate Oral Care Center, it only takes about 20 minutes for plaque to build up on your tooth enamel. During this time, plaque releases powerful acids that break down the minerals inside your enamel until it softens. Weakened tooth enamel can develop small white spots near the gumline that indicate the beginning stages of tooth decay. Dark brown spots can also show up on the bite surfaces and areas between your molars and premolars. But these issues aren't the only problems plaque causes. It can also turn into a hard substance called tartar.

Tartar forms on the backs of your teeth and along the gumline. As the substance builds up, it forms a tight bond with your enamel that's difficult to break, even with a toothbrush and floss. Colgate also states that tartar can potentially lead to gingivitis and advanced gum disease if it stays on your teeth. The substance allows bacteria to grow near and under the gumline, which exposes the tissues inside and around your teeth to disease.

It's possible to lose your teeth to advanced gum disease and tooth decay, so it's critical that you take your time to perform good oral care. 

How Long Should You Brush Your Teeth?

Sources recommend that you brush your teeth three times a day for at least two minutes each session. You want to clean as many surfaces on your teeth as possible to remove plaque and bacteria. It's a good idea that you focus on one quadrant, or area of the mouth, at a time to ensure that you do a good job. If necessary, use a manual timer or electronic app to monitor your brushing time.

For instance, some apps connect to Bluetooth and other electronic devices to help you accomplish your dental care goals. The apps allow you to monitor how long you brush, how often you brush and when you brush. The apps also let you know when you miss areas of the mouth, or when you spend too much time on one specific area of the mouth. The technology gives you a chance to improve or make adjustments to your oral care regime as you use it. If you have problems selecting the right apps or need additional information about monitoring your oral care, schedule an appointment with a dentist. 

Finally, make sure that you hold your toothbrush correctly when you use it. If you don't place the head of your toothbrush in the right places when you brush, you may not remove enough the plaque from your teeth. For example, instead of brushing your teeth straight across or up and down, turn the head of your toothbrush to a 45-degree angle so that the bristles lie comfortably against your gumline. Lightly move the brush back and forth over your teeth until they feel clean and smooth. You don't want to place too much pressure on your gums, or else you risk cutting or scratching them.

For more tips on how to brush your teeth properly or for how long, contact a dental clinic, such as TLC Dental Center, in your area today.