04 Mar The Changing of the Guard
What Guards Your Teeth?
The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is one of London’s most popular attractions. During the ceremony, the Queen’s guard hands over responsibility of protecting the palace to a new regiment of guards, ensuring proper safety and security. Like this famous palace, your teeth need protecting too. Twice a day, your toothbrush should actively guard your teeth from bacteria and decay. But after a while, your toothbrush gets weary and can’t do the job as well. Effectively, your mouth “guard” needs a change.
Keep in mind that your toothbrush does more than sweep away plaque. It also reaches between teeth and into gum pockets to dislodge food debris and bacteria. With a helping of toothpaste, your toothbrush also spreads fluoride over any fissures in your enamel to restore your teeth’s natural wall of defense. A worn-out toothbrush simply cannot do the job as well as a new replacement.
When to Change the Guard
When and how often should you change your toothbrush? The American Dental Association (ADA) states that toothbrushes need replacing “every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are visibly matted or frayed.” A proper toothbrush has bristles that stand up in unity, pointing in the same direction — much like the symmetry of the guards at Buckingham Palace. If the bristles are bent outward or spread apart, it’s a sure sign that you need a shift change. Bristles on electric toothbrushes follow similar guidelines, but it’s always important to check the recommendations from the manufacturer. Most versions have a detachable and replaceable head so you can replace the bristles easily.
To provide your teeth with proper protection, make sure to use only soft bristles. Firm bristles unnecessarily irritate your gums. Pressing firm bristles against your gums often leads to bleeding and oral damage that’s easily avoided. Conversely, a toothbrush with older, worn bristles might not have enough firmness to do the job properly. Basically, it comes down to using the right tool, in the right condition, for the right job.
Brushing your teeth with a toothbrush in good form is the primary defense against tooth decay and gum disease. Of course, even palace guards need accessories and support, and the primary guard of your oral health is no different. Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, but also use toothpaste with fluoride, and dental floss for those places your brush cannot reach.
And let’s not forget your regular “inspection of the ranks” by visiting the Yuba City Dentistry Group for your semiannual checkups. We help make sure you don’t have any faulty “equipment,” and that there aren’t any weak points in your defenses. If your toothbrush needs replacing and you would like some recommendations, we’re happy to discuss it with you. The changing of your guard might not be as extravagant as the ceremony in London, but it will be just as effective in protecting your crowns!