While there, I noticed a fun marketing sign that read, “Treat your body like it belongs to someone you love”.
Going with this Whole Foods slogan, an alternative title to this article could be ‘How to brush your teeth like you want to keep them in your mouth for the rest of your life’. But then I realized that it would be too long of a title, so I scrapped it. 🙂
Brushing our teeth on a daily (or twice or thrice) basis is one of the foundational practices necessary to navigate to optimal oral health. And you’re right when you think, ‘Uh, isn’t that pretty self evident, Will?”
But how we brush our teeth is of critical importance to whether we will create a positive impact on the health of our teeth and gums or cause damage in the long run. And, even more important than how we brush is why we brush.
In this article, we explore the 4 reasons why we should regularly brush our teeth.
The bottom line with brushing our teeth is to understand the various reasons why brushing supports greater oral health. Without a clear understanding why brushing is so important, we will lack a full understanding of how to best navigate the path to optimal oral health.
1. Brush to remove plaque from the teeth
This one is the most widely known reason why we brush our teeth. If we allow plaque to accumulate on the teeth, we are inviting the ‘bad bugs’ implicated with tooth decay to erode the tooth enamel.
This process, called acid dissolution, is one of the factors that causes tooth decay. However, like we point out in our free video tutorial series, the 5 steps to a healthy mouth, acid dissolution from plaque on the teeth is only one of the causes of tooth decay. The balance of minerals in our blood play another foundational role whether our teeth are prone to decay or resistant to decay. To learn more about how to make our teeth super resistant to decay, check out our article ‘Why do teeth decay’.
To read more about how acid dissolution damages tooth enamel and what you can do about it, check out our articles ‘How to drink kombucha and not destroy your teeth’ and ‘Tracking your saliva pH: How to know you are heading in the right direction’. (Clearly I didn’t take my own advice on lengthy titles earlier in my blogging carrier.)
2. Brush to disrupt and disorganize the ‘bad bugs’ implicated with gum disease.
Anyone who has been following our work has a clear understanding of the critical importance of disrupting and disorganizing the bad bugs related to gum disease. As we explain in our video ‘How to brush your teeth to reduce gum disease’, the Bass brushing technique does a great job to keep the bad bugs from being able to colonize and organize their attack on our bodies.
When we combine knowing how to brush to reduce gum disease with the proper brush, amazing positive change can occur. Not only will our teeth feel the cleanest they’ve ever felt from brushing but we will also keep the bad bugs disrupted.
The process the bad bugs use to undermine our oral health (and whole body wellness) is to organize along and under the gum line, colonize this area and build protective ‘battlements’ to keep us from being able to interrupt their dirty work. We know these ‘protective fortresses’ as calculus and tartar.
By regularly disrupting and disorganizing their colonization efforts, we keep the bad bugs from being able to build their protective cover and establish their ‘enemy inside the gates’ point of attack on our systems. (Sorry for the wartime analogy, but in this instance, it’s not even an analogy and is just plain and simple microbiology.)
3. Brush to stimulate your gums
Ok, stick with us here. We’re heading out on a limb… 🙂
Stimulating our gums brings into play a universal principle we call ‘use it or lose it’.
We see the ‘use it or lose it’ principle everywhere. Muscle tissue diminishes if not exercised. Cognitive function declines if not stimulated. Bone density drops if the bones aren’t stressed.
We discuss this principle in our article on ‘Options if you have a missing tooth’ because the jaw bone under where a person is missing a tooth is more prone to breaking down because it’s not getting worked by having a tooth put demand on it.
Bottom line, our gum tissue needs to be stimulated if we want it to stay around to support our teeth for the rest of our lives.
4. Brush to massage your gums.
Brushing our teeth to massage the gum tissue activates yet another universal truth. This truth is every living tissue benefits from massage.
Let’s face it. Everything loves loving touch. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about a dog, a cat, your feet, a house plant or your gums, science has clearly shown that every living tissue responds positively to loving touch.
You might be asking, “What’s the difference between stimulating the gums and massaging them?” Well, let’s see if we can provide a real life example of the difference.
Have you ever felt the difference between your significant other mindlessly rubbing your feet while watching a movie compared to them massaging your feet with intention focused on helping your feet feel awesome? That’s the difference between stimulating the tissue and giving it loving massage.
Giving your gums a loving massage takes focused attention, whereas we can stimulate the gum line without giving them any love. 🙂
What’s the catch to this?
We have to apply what we call conscious brushing. You see, if we just go about the same unconscious brushing habits we’ve been doing for most of our lives (remember how we explain this in our video with the cute kids about brushing?), if we brush unconsciously, we’re not going to be doing it in the loving manner that’s ideal.
So, the next time you brush, keep in mind the several reasons why we brush our teeth to help you gain maximum benefit of this habit most of our culture does unconsciously.
How to brush your teeth to reduce gum disease (video)
Why do teeth decay (article)
5 steps to a healthy mouth (free video series)
How to drink kombucha and NOT destroy your teeth (article)
Tracking your saliva pH: How to know you are heading in the right direction (article)
Options if you have a missing tooth (article)