Why exactly do we need to brush at least twice a day? Inquiring little minds might want to know (and we’d like to give them the right answer as parents and health care providers). Here are the answers from your specialists at Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan.

First, let’s talk about plaque.

Plaque is that rough, fuzzy thing you feel on your teeth when you haven’t brushed often enough, or if you ate something starchy or sweet, like bread or cake.

Plaque comes from mouth bacteria mixed with food particles you didn’t brush away. It takes 24 hours for bacteria to form plaque, and if you still don’t brush, plaque becomes tartar (which is the harder yellowish-white substance that the hygienist has to scrape off), which is the perfect place for more bacteria to hang out. This is how gingivitis and gum disease starts and it also greatly increases the risk of cavities.

When tartar deposits along the gumline it can also lead to unhealthy gums by creating a safe hiding spot for nasty bacteria that like dark wet places. These bacteria eventually set up colonies that are able to destroy tissues and bones that support the teeth.

You brush in the morning to get rid of any plaque buildup overnight.

Yes, it’s not just about bad breath. Though brushing helps with that, too. Brushing in the morning refreshes your mouth and removes any plaque that mouth bacteria has started building over the night time hours when our salivary flow greatly decreases and we may be breathing through our mouths more than during the day.

You brush at bedtime to prevent plaque from getting cozy in your mouth while you sleep.

Your mouth will be dry while you sleep. During the day, you eat and talk, and that means you have increased saliva flow in your mouth. Saliva has characteristic components that defend your teeth and assists in washing away food particles. But when you sleep, there’s much less saliva flow, so the bacteria in your mouth can have a party – if you let them.

It’s important to brush twice a day to prevent plaque buildup.

Some kids think they can skip brushing at bedtime since no one will be there to be conscious of bad breath. As we said, it’s not about bad breath.

When you skip brushing at bedtime, your teeth and gums have lowered defense against the bacteria in your mouth. You run the risk of leaving food particles from your snacks, drinks and dinner. All that leftovers will be consumed by your mouth bacteria for energy and the bacteria byproducts from this energy use is acid secretion.

So brush when you wake up and brush before bed to make sure your teeth stay healthy! Visit your dentist to remove tartar that builds up even in the cleanest mouths to help prevent and, as needed, treat any cavities or gum problems while they’re small problems.

About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan

Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan has specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. We have the ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs as we have treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.

39400 Garfield Rd., Suite 200
Clinton Township, MI
Phone: 586-286-0700
Fax: 586-286-5932