How often should you brush your teeth?

In the fight against tooth decay, regular brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist will make a difference to your dental health. But how often should you brush your teeth?

“Ideally, you should brush your teeth every time you eat something substantial. Of course sometimes life gets in the way, and you may not be able to brush after every snack or sugary drink. That’s why we recommend brushing and flossing at minimum twice each day,” says Dr. Michael Dolynchuk, dentist and owner of Dolynchuk Dental Center in Red Deer.

Foods and drinks with sugars, carbohydrates and starches can stick to your teeth, so it’s important to remove it as soon as you can.

“Brushing only cleans about 80 per cent of your teeth, because your toothbrush can’t reach between teeth (unless you’re missing a tooth)! That’s why flossing is so important, to ensure you’re cleaning your whole mouth,” Dr. Dolynchuk says.

What if you can’t brush after every meal?

Your toothbrush is an instrument that must be kept clean and free of bacteria, and that means you probably won’t have a clean one handy every time you eat. So what should you do?

“Rinsing your mouth with water after every snack or beverage can help prevent tooth decay. Sip that coffee or soft drink if you’d like, but follow it up with fresh water afterwards,” Dr. Dolynchuk says.

Sugar free gum can also help reduce tooth decay:

  • Gum is sticky, helping to remove food from teeth.
  • Gum helps to increase saliva flow. “Saliva is our body’s natural cleaner. It helps counter-act the acids that can cause tooth decay,” Dr. Dolynchuk says.
  • Sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol can inhibit the growth of cavity-causing bacteria.

Visiting your dentist regularly is one of the best ways to improve your dental health. Your dentist can also offer you specific recommendations based on your lifestyle and oral health needs — ask your dental professional for more tips on how, and how often, to brush.

Dr. Dolynchuk is accepting new patients at both of his Central Alberta clinics. Find Caroline Dental Center at and at 5103 48 Ave., Caroline. Call (403) 722-2122 to make an appointment. Find Dolynchuk Dental Center at, and at 6845 66 St., in Red Deer’s new QEII Wellness Centre. Call (403) 309 2167 to make an appointment.

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