When and how often should you brush your teeth?

    Answer From Thomas J. Salinas, D.D.S.

    The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes each time.

    When you brush your teeth, you help remove food and plaque — a sticky white film that forms on your teeth and contains bacteria. After you eat a meal or snack that contains sugar, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel.

    Eventually, the acid can break down tooth enamel, causing cavities. Plaque that isn't removed can also harden into tartar, making it harder to keep teeth clean. Tartar buildup on your gums leads to inflammation that causes gum disease.

    In choosing when to brush your teeth, you might also consider your diet. If you've eaten an acidic food or drink, avoid brushing your teeth right away. These acids weaken tooth enamel, and brushing too soon can remove enamel.

    If you have arthritis or have difficulty holding a toothbrush, consider buying an electric or battery-operated toothbrush. These have been shown to remove plaque better than manual toothbrushes.

    Besides brushing your teeth, to keep your mouth healthy, do the following:

    • Floss daily.
    • Use mouthwash after brushing and flossing.
    • Drink plenty of water.
    • Eat a healthy diet and limit sugary food and drinks.
    • Avoid frequent snacking.
    • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are irregular or splayed.
    • Schedule regular dental checkups with X-rays and cleanings.

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    Oct. 07, 2021

    1. Oral health topics: Home oral care. American Dental Association. https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/home-care. Accessed May 25, 2019.
    2. Preventing periodontal disease. The American Academy of Periodontology. https://www.perio.org/consumer/prevent-gum-disease. Accessed May 17, 2019.
    3. Oral health topics: Toothbrushes. American Dental Association. https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/toothbrushes. Accessed May 25, 2019.
    4. Taking care of your teeth and mouth. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/taking-care-your-teeth-and-mouth. Accessed May 25, 2019.
    5. Healthy nutrition for healthy teeth. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/healthy-nutrition-for-healthy-teeth. Accessed May 17, 2019.
    6. Wilder RS, et al. Gingivitis and periodontitis in adults: Classification and dental treatment. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed May 18, 2019.

    See more Expert Answers

    See also

    1. Brush up on how to brush your teeth
    2. Calcium
    3. Dental floss vs. water pick
    4. Does flossing really make a difference?
    5. Dry mouth relief
    6. Electric vs. manual toothbrush
    7. Heart disease and oral health
    8. Oral health: A window to your overall health
    9. Sensitive teeth
    10. Time to buy a new toothbrush?
    11. Tooth flossing 101
    12. Toothpicks: For hors d'oeuvres, not teeth
    13. Want whiter teeth?
    14. Whitening toothpaste

    .

    What are the best times to brush your teeth?
    Waiting 30 minutes to an hour after eating to brush your teeth is the best way to ensure that you're protecting your teeth and not tampering with your enamel. The American Dental Association recommends you wait 60 minutes after eating before you brush, especially after having acidic foods. more
    Is it okay to brush your teeth three times a day?
    Can you brush your teeth too much? Brushing your teeth three times a day, or after each meal, likely won't damage your teeth. However, brushing too hard or too soon after eating acidic foods can. more
    Can I brush my teeth 3 times a day with braces?
    To avoid plaque, brushing at least 2-3 times a day is essential. You also need to make sure you brush properly – brushing your teeth and braces should take at least 4-5 minutes each time you do it. Poor brushing results in permanent decalcification, which can leave permanent marks on your teeth. more
    Is it OK to brush teeth 3 times a day?
    Can you brush your teeth too much? Brushing your teeth three times a day, or after each meal, likely won't damage your teeth. However, brushing too hard or too soon after eating acidic foods can. Aim to use a light touch when brushing. more
    Is it OK to brush your teeth 5 times a day?
    You should refrain from brushing more than three times a day, because brushing too often will wear down the enamel of your teeth. You must brush at least twice, but not more than three times a day. more
    How many times do you brush your teeth a day?
    The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes each time. When you brush your teeth, you help remove food and plaque — a sticky white film that forms on your teeth and contains bacteria. more
    What happens if you brush your teeth 5 times a day?
    Although this is not always a bad thing, when you start brushing too much or for too long, you can ultimately damage your teeth. Brushing more than three times a day, and for longer than 2 minutes, can sometimes lead to your tooth enamel wearing down as well as cause damage to your gums. more
    Is it okay to brush your teeth 4 times a day?
    Although this is not always a bad thing, when you start brushing too much or for too long, you can ultimately damage your teeth. Brushing more than three times a day, and for longer than 2 minutes, can sometimes lead to your tooth enamel wearing down as well as cause damage to your gums. more
    Should you brush your teeth 3 times a day?
    The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes each time. When you brush your teeth, you help remove food and plaque — a sticky white film that forms on your teeth and contains bacteria. more
    How many times a day should you brush your teeth?
    The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes each time. When you brush your teeth, you help remove food and plaque — a sticky white film that forms on your teeth and contains bacteria. more
    Is it OK to brush teeth 4 times a day?
    Brushing more than four times a day can cause recession of the gum line and the hastened erosion of dental enamel. This can expose your tooth roots and the softer, more vulnerable dentin underneath the enamel, which can lead to cavities and tooth decay. more

    Source: www.mayoclinic.org

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