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Information Connection: How to have healthy teeth and gums

See all health articles

by 2000 Antoinette de Janasz
The Twooth Timer Company, Inc.

Dental Hygiene, Twooth Timer & YOU!

It is safe to assume that everyone knows you should brush and floss your teeth at regularly. But what a lot of people don’t know is how long they should brush and why all of this is so important.

Parents are always reminding their children to brush their teeth to prevent cavities. We hope if you are one of these parents you follow your own advice--poor oral hygiene may have a more adverse effect on health than just cavities or lost teeth.

Consider the mouth as a doorway to the body. "Periodontal disease, like most diseases, affects the entire body," according to Jack Klatell, DDS, Professor and Chairman, Department of Dentistry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine. When bacterial plaque builds up on your teeth, you are at risk for gingivitis, an early stage of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, affecting the gum, bone and supporting tissue of the teeth. Plaque is a colorless film of bacteria that sticks to teeth. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can enter your bloodstream and travel throughout your body. Heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease have all been linked to gum disease. In a recent National Institute of Health survey, 47% of the males and 37% of the females aged 18-64 exhibited some form of gingival bleeding.

Warning Signs

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums

  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing

  • Gums that pull away from teeth

  • Loose or separating teeth

  • Persistent bad breath

  • Bad taste in mouth

  • Sensitive teeth

  • Pus around teeth and gums

  • Calculus (brown, hard deposits) on teeth

  • Pain when chewing

The good news is that periodontal disease is preventable, controllable and treatable. Obviously, prevention is the best choice. According to dental health experts, brushing and flossing, along with twice-yearly professional cleanings, will control the accumulation of plaque in most people. However, it is not only how you brush your teeth that counts… but also how long.

Experts recommend brushing your teeth for two minutes after meals or snacks. A study by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne School of Dentistry found that young adults spent less than 35 seconds brushing their teeth. A timer would seem ideal, would it not? (Editor's note: You can get a  Twooth™ Timer at http://www.twoothtimer.com.


Teeth Brushing Tips

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that allows you to reach every surface. Replace it if the bristles are bent or frayed, about every 3 to 4 months.

  • Spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth. (Use Twooth™ Timer to make it simple and fun!)

  • Position the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a vibrating back & forth motion, brushing 2-3 teeth at a time.

  • Maintain the 45-degree angle to gently brush along all of the inner tooth surfaces using a back, forth, and rolling motion.

  • To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth and its surrounding gum.

  • Use a gentle back and forth scrubbing motion to clean the biting surface of the teeth. Don’t forget to brush the tongue from back to front to remove odor-producing bacteria.

  • Don't forget vigorous overbrushing does more harm than not brushing at all. If your brush looks mushroomed, you are brushing too vigorously. It's good to brush gently for two minutes, but just 20 seconds of harsh brushing will abrade your teeth to oblivion. And since you are brushing gently, you need two minutes--no less, no more.

Good dental hygiene is not only for children. A clean mouth or "house" will leave you more immune to infection and therefore not as apt to contract the infectious disease of periodontitis. You should also know that gum disease--from lax dental care--greatly increases the risk of strokes. Aside from the health aspects, adults benefit by having a healthy smile and reducing bad breath. It is never too early or too late to begin taking care of your teeth!


2000 Antoinette de Janasz
The Twooth Timer Company, Inc.
(214) 522-8596 phone
(214) 522-8598 fax

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