Why are we told to brush our teeth for two minutes?
Good health can start with good oral health habits. There’s a lot going on in your mouth. Most people have 28-32 teeth, depending on if they have had any removed, such as wisdom teeth.
On each tooth, there are at least four or five surfaces for food and bacteria to cling to. So that adds up to about 120 surfaces at least to clean!
Teeth Brushing and Flossing
We recommend when you clean your teeth to do both brushing and flossing. If you don’t floss, you’re missing out on about 40 to 60 of those tooth surfaces. So it’s important to take your time and be thorough because you need to disrupt the plaque build-up, the bacteria on your teeth.
Multi-tasking: Teeth Cleaning and Mindfulness Practice
“I use the two minutes that I brush in the morning and at night as a mindfulness exercise as well, so why not multitask?”
~ Dr Ron Ehrlich
You can get two things done at once and just totally focus on doing a very thorough job for two minutes. And that is a great mental exercise and it’s a great exercise for your oral health. Since there’s a lot going on in your mouth, take your time, be thorough.
Thorough Toothbrushing As A Daily Habit
We need to develop a strong habit of cleaning our teeth. If you miss a spot one day you will miss it every day. You may be cleaning 90 per cent of your tooth surfaces very well. But it’s that 10 per cent that you could miss each and every day. That is where the plaque builds up, where decay creeps in or when the gums become inflamed.
Being mindful while teeth cleaning will maximise your ability to achieve long-term oral health.
“Brushing my teeth to me is exactly the same as exercising. I don’t enjoy doing it, but I know I have to do it and I have to do it every day.“
~ Actress Gwyneth Paltrow commenting about brushing your teeth…
Using An Electric Toothbrush With a Timer
Some of the newer electric toothbrushes have a built-in timer. Every 30 seconds the brush vibrates differently to remind you to move to another quadrant of your teeth. Front and back, top and bottom.
What about Tongue Cleaning?
Tongue cleaning can also be a helpful remedy to support oral health and minimise bad breath.
A tongue scraper is a curved cleaning edge, usually stainless steel that removes bacteria and soft plaque on the tongue quickly and easily. Cleaning your tongue is comfortable, quick and effective.
Tongue cleansing also helps improve taste, remove the coating on the tongue and slow the growth of plaque.
A Teeth and Tongue Cleaning Sequence
Thoroughly brush your teeth first
Rinse your mouth well and brush some more
Brush or scrape your tongue
Rinse out well, then floss your teeth, rinse out
Brush your teeth and your tongue again
Include Good Hydration In Your Morning Ritual
Your oral health habits can start with a glass of water! Our dental professional team recommend getting good hydration as soon as you can in the morning.
If you prepare a 600ml to 800ml bottle of water to have by the bed, when you get up in the morning you can start to hydrate your body.
Support Nasal Breathing With Your Oral Health Habits
Breathing through your nose is an important part of oral and overall health as it:
Warms, humidifies and filters the air reducing the chances of enlarged tonsils, allergies, hay fever and other chronic respiratory problems.
Helps balance out body chemistry by balancing out and optimising carbon dioxide levels in the lungs, affecting acid/alkali balance and smooth muscle throughout the body.
Helps in the production of nitric oxide, an important biological regulator, vasodilator, anti-microbial and powerful anti-oxidant.
If you are an open-mouth breather several things can happen:
Tonsils can become enlarged and lead to frequent respiratory problems.
The mouth becomes drier and susceptible to decay and gum disease.
There is a risk of narrowing the upper arch due to poor tongue positioning when the mouth is open.
CO2 levels in the lungs go out of balance, leading to restless sleep and even waking up and needing to go to the bathroom at night (low CO2 levels can cause smooth muscle to contract throughout the body. The bladder is a smooth muscle, so the need to frequently urinate can occur).
Nasal breathing can be achieved by placing a small piece of Micropore paper tape across your lips before going to bed. Ask our team for more information about nasal breathing and using micropore tape. You can also download our guide to nasal breathing here…
Thanks to Brent Bultitude for Hosting Dr Ron on 2HD Radio