Brushing Zero Times A Day?
The toothbrush is a modern invention. Americans didn’t develop the daily habit of using a brush to clean their teeth until the 1940s. You have been told to brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss your teeth daily. Brush your teeth when you wake and again before you go to bed. Not brushing affects everything in your life, from social issues to appearance to adverse effects on other body parts.
Q: What is the history of the toothbrush?
A: Boar-bristle brushes used to clean teeth go back to Ancient China. French dentists introduced the idea to Europe in the 17th century. William Addis developed a bone-handle pig-bristle brush in 1780 England, which led to the first mass-produced toothbrushes.
DuPont developed nylon bristles in 1938, and soon, there was Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush in the United States.
The practice of daily brushing came to America after World War II when soldiers returned from the army, where they were ordered to brush their teeth daily to maintain overall health. The first electric brush in the United States was the Broxodent in 1960. The first rotary brush was the Interplak in 1987.
Q: What happens when I don’t brush my teeth?
A: Poor oral hygiene allows the bacteria in your mouth to increase out of control. These bacteria plus sugars and retained food particles lead to bad-smelling breath. Not brushing leaves plaque deposits on your teeth, resulting in tooth stains, hard deposit formation and discoloration. These bacteria destroy tooth enamel and result in chronic inflammation and infection of gum tissue and tooth loss.
Cavities in teeth lead to pain and extracted teeth. Gum disease (gingivitis) begins with infected and bleeding gums. Progressive untreated gum disease (periodontitis) allows bacteria to enter your bloodstream and affect overall health.
Q: What kind of toothbrush should I use?
A: The important considerations are choosing a brush that fits the size and shape of your mouth, a brush which is durable and has soft bristles. Bristles come in hard/medium/soft/ultra-soft; never use anything harder than a soft brush. Manual brushes are adequate, unless there is a dexterity problem; then an electric or rotary brush will be more effective.
Q: When should I replace my brush?
A: Bristles wear out and splay and should be replaced every three to four months or at signs of wear; children’s should be replaced more often. After colds, flu or oral infections, they should also be thrown out and replaced. Never share toothbrushes.
The impact of not brushing results in tooth loss from tooth decay and gum disease. The social impact results from tooth loss, appearance changes and bad odor from your mouth. If the damage is left untreated, the breakdown results in embarrassment and loss of self-confidence. Long-term results are loss of health and money from treatment throughout your life.
You need to maintain your health. Practice good oral hygiene: Brush and floss daily. Remember to schedule regular dental visits for check-up exams, cleanings and X-rays.
The health of your mouth affects your whole body. Care of teeth needs to begin at a young age and continue throughout your lifetime. Tooth brushing is a part of your wellness program.