I know…now I sound like your parents. How many of us have heard these quotes as kids or said these to our kids:
“Brush your teeth…you don’t want any cavities.”
“You don’t want to be a Yuck Mouth.”
“And brush your teeth too!!!”
“Dont’ forget to floss.”
I know it can be a pain in the butt to take the time to brush, but as adults, brushing our teeth should be automatic by now. If it isn’t, then regular visits to the dentist for cavities or gum disease are likely in your future. When we think fitness, the focus may seem like it should be on muscles and diet, but we have to take care of our bodies and that includes our teeth too. For this reason, I thought I would share some recommendations I have learned either through experience or reading that I thought I would share. Let’s start with the obvious.
How Many Times a Day?
Like any other kid, I was not really a fan of brushing my teeth. I didn’t see it as important as they were going to fall out anyway. As a teenager, my only motivation to brush my teeth was that I didn’t want to go to school with the infamous dragon breath. So I would only brush my teeth in the morning every day. Once a day was enough, or so I thought. Unfortunately cavities and other teeth challenges taught me otherwise.
Growing up I heard you should brush your teeth after every meal. I even saw commercials where they showed the person eating lunch and then going back to the office with their travel toothpaste kit and brushing their teeth. That wasn’t for me, so I settled on brushing twice a day. I brush my teeth first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. I also brush my teeth if my mouth just feels like it needs a brushing.
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes each time. This seems to jive with my experience, as I haven’t had any cavities since I started brushing twice a day. Therefore, it seems like the best answer is to brush at least twice daily.
When Should You Floss?
When to floss??? No, not when a good song comes on…hehe. Flossing seems to be something that we all have to adopt if we want to avoid problems. I use to never floss. I always think back to Jeff Foxworthy’s comedy where he talks about going to the dentist and being asked when was the last time he had flossed. His response was, “Hmmm…you did it” referring to the dental assistant being the last person to floss his teeth. Hilarious!!!
Though I use to never floss, over the last 3 years, I learned I need to. As we get older, our teeth shift and quite honestly, food gets trapped more easily in the teeth. My wife swears she will not leave home without floss. It is common for us both to look to floss our teeth after a meal. Not because we have a good habit, but because we need to. This means I typically floss at least twice a day.
Should you floss before you brush your teeth or after? Latest studies I have read says that it is best to floss your teeth before you brush. This says that it loosens up food and bacteria, thus making the tooth brush more effective. On the other hand, I watched a YouTube video the other day that talked about flossing after you brush your teeth and before you rinse your mouth out, so you can pull some toothpaste in between your teeth with each floss. Personally, I am going to stick with the recommendation to floss before I brush. This way, the excess food is removed from my teeth and the brush can hit more areas.
Taking care of your teeth is just as important as taking care of any other part of your physical fitness. If you are overweight and unhealthy, you can be miserable. If you have gum disease or a bunch of cavities, that will make you miserable too. With this in mind, be sure to brush your teeth at least twice daily with flossing at least once a day. Do your best to care for your teeth so you will have them a long time and avoid the costs of high dentist bills. Now brush those teeth and show them pearly whites!!!