Of course, as your Overland Park dentist, we always encourage you to brush whenever you can and at least twice a day. Brushing after meals helps remove particles of food from your mouth that can lead to the growth of bacteria, which in turn contributes to cavities and gum disease. However, we also know that it’s not always practical to brush after every single meal, so here’s a little advice on when it’s the most important to brush, and how to make the best of it when you can’t.
While regular dental hygiene is always vital to good oral health, the importance of brushing after you eat depends a little on what you had. If you just finished a business lunch with a light salad and a glass of sparkling water followed by a piece of sugarless gum, then you’re probably okay to give brushing a pass this time, unless you’ve got some black pepper or pomegranate seeds stuck in your teeth. If you ended lunch with a sugary dessert, though, you might want to find time to brush as soon as you are able. Sugar is a favorite of bacteria, and can be particularly bad for your teeth.
Your Overland Park dentist also understands that you can’t always get away to brush. Sometimes you’re on the go, at work or at school, and there’s just no convenient time or way to brush your teeth after eating.
Fortunately, there are other things that you can do to help prevent tooth decay without necessarily having to stop and brush. Chewing sugarless gum (preferably gum with the ADA seal) is a great way to increase salivation and help remove some of the gunk from your teeth, and you can always pick up those pocket flossers and carry one or two of them around in your purse or wallet. They may not be the same as brushing after each meal, but they’re better than nothing, and they can help avoid the embarrassment of finding some parsley in your smile after that business lunch. When all else fails, rinsing your mouth out with water will help get rid of the worst of any residue left behind by your last meal.
Just like busy adults who’re on the go, kids at school probably don’t have the time or opportunity to brush right after lunch. Pack some sugarless gum in their lunch box or backpack, and make sure they brush when they get home, especially if they also just had an afternoon snack!
When you get right down to it, you shouldn’t worry too much if you don’t manage to brush after every single meal. The most important thing is to brush when you can, and make sure that you brush regularly at least twice a day, and floss at least once. There are lots of ways to take good care of your teeth, and keeping up a regular routine is more important than getting it right every single time.
No matter how often you brush, there’s no replacement for regular checkups from your Overland Park dentist at Watts Family Dental! For more advice on good oral hygiene habits or to schedule an appointment today, just give us a call at (913) 338-3384!