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Why Is It important To Brush Your Teeth?

Last updated Nov. 10, 2016

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD MPH

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It is important to brush your teeth to prevent gum disease. Refusal to brush one’s teeth for several days can lead to the onset of gum disease. Brushing ensures the removal of plaque, which is the primary cause for tooth decay and gum disease; it also arrests the build-up of any plaque formation.


The average human may eat about 3-4 times a day. The food that we eat is chewed by the teeth, partially digested in the mouth, and then swallowed. Leftover food particles get accumulated or coated on the teeth, tongue, under the gums, between the teeth, and even in the pits of the teeth. The bacteria in the mouth act on the food debris and convert them to form a sticky substance, known as plaque. Over time, acids in the plaque can cause damage to the teeth enamel and gums, resulting in a host of dental health issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, and dental sepsis, if left untreated. Fortunately, an easy and reliable way to get rid of such food particles that stick to our teeth and wedge in between them is by brushing the teeth regularly.

Brushing one’s teeth can help prevent tooth decay that can lead to dental cavities, which is the formation of holes on the teeth, a condition that can result in a tooth loss. Brushing also helps prevent bad breath, which may potentially discourage friends, colleagues, and family members from developing deeper interpersonal relationships with you.

It is important to brush your teeth to prevent gum disease. Refusal to brush one’s teeth for several days can lead to the onset of gum disease. Brushing ensures the removal of plaque, which is the primary cause for tooth decay and gum disease; it also arrests the build-up of any plaque formation.

Regularly brushing your teeth reduces the risk of bacterial infections like tooth abscess. Tooth abscess forms when bacteria in the mouth multiply to unhealthy levels, as the environment is conducive for its growth and development. Tooth abscess, if left untreated, can cause serious health conditions involving the lungs, heart, or even the brain. In very rare instances, such infections affecting the vital organs are known to be fatal too. Poor teeth and gum health is chronically linked to many health conditions including diabetes, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Maintaining good oral hygiene, of which brushing is an important component, can help save money by avoiding unnecessary visits to the dentist for dental work such as for filling cavities or surgery for severe forms of gum disease. Besides, it is difficult to chew and eat, and difficult to smile too, if the teeth and gums are affected. Clean teeth can assure a good-looking set of strong teeth, which may boost your self-esteem and self-confidence levels too.

It is recommended to brush your teeth twice daily and after any meal. If the teeth remain healthy, then the gums stay healthy too. Ensure that your toothpaste contains fluoride for stronger and healthier teeth. Also, children have to be trained to brush in the right manner and for at least 3 minutes, as stated by KidsHealth. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the use of a toothbrush with soft bristles, replacing it once every 3-4 months, and the use of dental products having the ADA seal of approval for healthy teeth. 

References:

http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/body/teeth_care.html (accessed on 12/31/2014)

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth (accessed on 12/31/2014)

http://www.bblocks.samhsa.gov/family/showtell/goodhygiene.aspx (accessed on 12/31/2014)

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/dentalhealth/Pages/Teethcleaningguide.aspx (accessed on 12/31/2014)

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Arnon, I., & Clark, E. V. (2011). Why brush your teeth is better than teeth–Children's word production is facilitated in familiar sentence-frames. Language Learning and Development, 7(2), 107-129.

Eppright, M., Shroff, B., Best, A. M., Barcoma, E., & Lindauer, S. J. (2013). Influence of active reminders on oral hygiene compliance in orthodontic patients. The Angle Orthodontist, 84(2), 208-213.

Crawford, E. O., Heaton, E. T., Heslop, K., & Kixmiller, K. (2009). Science Learning at Home Involving Families. YC Young Children, 64(6), 39.

Williamson, C., Alcantar, O., Rothlind, J., Cahn-Weiner, D., Miller, B. L., & Rosen, H. J. (2010). Standardised measurement of self-awareness deficits in FTD and AD. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 81(2), 140-145.

Fischer, R. (2015). Good grief, Son, please go brush your teeth and make your bed!--Ryan Fischer, MD. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.

Carr, A. (2014). When and how often should you brush your teeth? Adult Health.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Nov. 10, 2016
Last updated: Nov. 10, 2016