That is an excellent question!
When I was younger, I was bullied because I had yellow-gray teeth. Kids on the bus made fun of me and asked if I knew what a toothbrush was. Talk about affecting your self-esteem! This is why I became a dental hygienist in the first place.
Fast forward to later in life.
My daughter is an ice skater, and for years we got up two mornings a week at 5 am so she could skate.
When you get up that early toothbrushing is more like zombie brushing when you are not a morning person.
I am now; however, when you have a dog, she does not know the days you don’t have to get up early, so every day is an early day now, thanks to that routine.
Toothbrushing is a routine that turns into a habit. We have good habits and bad habits.
Your habits change depending on what happened in your life, at least mine do.
I realized I was creating my bad habit of being in a hurry in the morning. I know better! Then one day I yelled at my daughter for taking to long. She yelled back, which is it. Mom, do you want me to brush my teeth or hurry?
Well, that’s a good question? I want you to take you time and brush, of course!
I started looking and asking other peoples what their brushing habits are. I always ask my patients at each visit and document their response in their charts but never really looked at the patterns. Until I started going into schools and seeing kids and people started asking me to look at their teeth outside of the office.
I started asking different questions. I saw a pattern as to how many times a day they brush, how long, common areas missed. Mostly I saw an increase in cavities and gingivitis that match the statistics.
As I talked to more and more people, I heard what they were taking away from their dental visits, “I don’t floss enough.” Well, there is much more to healing your mouth and preventing disease than flossing.
How about we start with toothbrushing the thing that is the easiest to do for most people. The idea is even though we brush we do not do it with intention and we miss several areas every time.
We don’t check to see if we are getting all of the surfaces. We just put it in and wave it around a bit and go. Your toothbrush is not a magic wand. You can not just wave it around in your mouth, hoping to get all the teeth cleaned.
It is a tool that needs to be held a certain way for a certain amount of time to get the teeth clean and remove the harmful bacteria.
Bacteria that if not removed can cause or contribute to other illnesses in the body, like heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, low birth weight or preterm delivery, Alzheimer’s, dementia, kidney disease and more.
So that is why I talk so much about toothbrushing it is more important than most people realize.
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