The goals of brushing and flossing daily are:
1. To remove left over food and drink particles that feed the bacteria living in your mouth
2. To reduce the overall bacterial load (the amount of bacteria) in your mouth
3. To reduce inflammation
Teeth, and your mouth in general, have lots of little nooks and crannies where food and bacteria can get trapped. That’s why thoroughly brushing and flossing daily is important.
For example, I was at my friend’s house watching her children while she was getting ready to go out. We were talking while she was getting ready and she started to brush her teeth. I watched as she put the toothpaste on her brush, turned on the electric toothbrush and “brushed” her teeth for 2 minutes. Great! Except, as I watched her, she was talking the entire time and only successfully brushed her lower left teeth, barely touching her top teeth or the teeth on her lower right side.
Soooooo…….that 2 minutes of brushing was basically for nothing. She definitely won’t get cavities on her lower left side, but the rest of her mouth is toast!
The point of this example is not to judge my friend’s brushing ability. It’s to demonstrate the importance of taking a moment, even when you’re in a hurry, to think about how you’re cleaning your teeth. My friend went through the motions correctly on the surface, and if she were to get cavities I can understand why she might think “But I brush my teeth every day!”. The point isn’t just to go through the motions, but to actually make sure you’re thoroughly cleaning all the surfaces of your teeth.
Next time you brush, take a moment during that 2 minutes (which can seem like a really longtime) and pay attention to where you’re brushing and make sure you’re adequately cleaning all of your teeth. Not just your favorite ones!