Brush up on your brushing practices

Life Lessons

Brush up on your brushing practices

You’ve probably been brushing your teeth for decades, but there’s a good chance you’re doing it wrong.

recent poll by Unum of 1,200 working adults shows 17% of us brush for about a minute — that’s just half the time recommended by dental experts. Interestingly, another 13% reported brushing for about four minutes or more — twice the recommended time.

It could be time to brush up your knowledge on best brushing practices.

“These results suggest people could benefit from more dental health education,” said Unum Dental director Jim Di Marino, DMD. “The general recommendation is brushing twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste.”

The amount of time spent brushing is essential for good oral health, according to the American Dental Association. An August review of oral studies in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene found brushing twice a day for two minutes can remove enough plaque and food debris to maintain dental health for the average adult. Plaque contains oral bacteria that can causes gum disease and tooth decay.

Over-brushing isn’t better, though. Brushing too hard or for too long may damage tooth enamel and irritate gums. So stick to the two-minute rule unless otherwise your dentist or health care professional has given you different instructions.

But that’s not all.

“Brushing alone can’t keep a mouth healthy,” Dr. Di Marino said. “Proper oral care routines should also include flossing and regular dental visits twice a year to prevent major dental health problems.”

The cost of preventive dental services may stop some people from regularly visiting a dentist, but dental insurance can help reduce those costs. Group dental plans — purchased through the workplace — typically cover the costs of cleanings and other preventive services.

You may be enrolling in your workplace benefits now, so it’s an ideal time to think about your oral health and dental coverage to help establish a proper oral care routine.

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