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8805 Columbia 100 Pkwy, Suite 104
Columbia, MD 21045

Some things feel like they're going to take forever, even if they actually won't take that long at all, such as standing in line waiting to get into the next Star Wars movie, sitting in your car in a traffic jam when you're trying to get to work on time, and brushing your teeth for long enough to make your dentist proud.

Your dentist and hygienist want you to brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day.  Actually this 2-minute-twice-a-day rule isn't arbitrary.

Research shows that brushing your teeth is non-negotiable and that also doing it for at least two minutes twice a day is great for your oral health.

This recommendation comes straight from experts' mouths:  The American Dental Association (ADA) says you should be brushing for two minutes twice a day.  But experts didn't just pluck this number from thin air.  Science shows it really can boost your oral health, says Sally Cram, D.D.S., a periodontist based in Washington, D.C.

A 2016 systematic review of 33 articles published in Journal of Dental Research found that brushing fewer than two times a day was consistently associated with more tooth decay, a.k.a. cavities, than brushing twice a day or more.  Tooth decay happens thanks to plaque, a sticky, bacteria-laden film.  These bacteria produce acid that eats away at your enamel, the hard outer covering on your teeth.  They can also damage your gums and cause gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease (periodontitis).

Dr. Cram states that some research gets even more specific, showing that brushing your teeth for two minutes leads to a greater reduction in plaque than brushing for one minute.  A 2012 systematic review of 59 papers published in International Journal of Dental Hygiene found that, on average, people who brushed for one minute removed about 27% of plaque while people who brushed for two minutes removed about 41% of plaque, almost twice as much.

If you brush for fewer than two minutes twice a day, you might not be cleaning your teeth thoroughly.  When you brush your teeth, you're not just supposed to get the outside surfaces, as in the front of your teeth and sides closest to your cheeks, says Vera Tang, D.D.S., a New York City-based dentist.  You're also supposed to get the inside surfaces -- the backs of your teeth and the sides of your molars closest to your tongue.  You're also supposed to clean the chewing surfaces along with the places where your teeth and gums meet.

If you're only spending, let's say 45 seconds brushing your teeth, odds are that you'll miss some of these spots or not give them enough attention, Dr. Tang says.  That can allow plaque to remain and harden into tartar which simple toothbrushing cannot remove.  Your dentist or hygienist will need to be the ones to scrape it off.

It's also important to make sure you're not harming your teeth or gums by brushing too hard.  This is one of the reasons why we recommend using the Oral B Genius Electric Toothbrush.  Not only does it have a two-minute timer to make sure you're brushing for the most effective length of time, but it also has a red light that will flash to alert you that you're brushing too hard.

As long as you're brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, you're doing a lot to keep your mouth healthy.  "Most dental problems -- like tooth decay, gum disease and other common problems -- are really preventable," Dr. Cram says.  No matter how busy you are, it really pays off to brush for two minutes twice a day and floss at least once per day as well.

In addition to brushing and flossing, it's also important to get your regular checkups at your dental office in order to catch any dental issues early.

We hope you found this newsletter informative. If you have any questions about any of the material covered in this issue, please don't hesitate to call us at 410-730-2337.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

The entire team at Columbia 100 Dental

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