Brushing our teeth is a daily habit that we should all be practicing to improve the health of our gums and prevent cavities. But what are the actual effects of teeth brushing?
Adults and children should be brushing their teeth twice a day, morning and night before bed, to remove food particles and bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. People with braces should be brushing after each meal as well. In one study of 61 adults who had fixed or removable dental prostheses (dentures) researchers studied brushing habits in a double blind trial comparing brushing agents over a 6 month period of time. The subjects brushed twice daily and at the end of the study there weren’t appreciable statistical differences between the groups. Bacteria was controlled and plaque reduced in both groups who consistently brushed each day. (1)
In another study performed on rats out of the Department of Histology, Tokyo Dental College, Japan researchers found that performing mechanical stress – tooth brushing – was useful in activating cells and stimulating bone formation in the jaw. (2)
Researchers from the University of Queenland School of Denstry, Brisbane, Australia found that infections with mutans streptococci in young children is associated with snacking frequency and inadequate tooth brushing. The bacterial infection can lead to increased tooth decay. These researchers gave one educational session to the mothers, which resulted in a 25 percent decrease in decay in young children indicating that some of the effects of teeth brushing is the decrease of bacteria which cause tooth decay and cavities. (3)
One of the options available for teeth brushing are electronic tooth brushes. Children are often intrigued by these brushes because they supposedly decrease the amount of work necessary to clean their teeth and remove bacteria and plaque. In a study published from the School of Dental Science in Tyne, UK researchers found that using a powered toothbrush at over 120 brushes per second and using a force of 150 g worked better than using a manual toothbrush. (4)
But, while power toothbrushes may provide more manual stimulation to the teeth, gums and underlying bone structure manual toothbrushes continue to get the job done for patients the way that they have for decades. If you have the funds to purchase a power toothbrush for your child you may want to make the investment since other research has shown that children will brush longer with a power brush than with a manual brush.
The effects of teeth brushing are important to the continued health of the user. Scientists have found concrete evidence that gum disease is linked with heart disease and strokes. The conclusion from all of this evidence is that tooth brushing is an important part of daily health care to prevent heart disease, cavities and gum disease.
(1) Europe PubMed Central: Tooth Brushing Habits in Uninstructed Adults
(2) The Bulletin of Tokyo Dental College: Histological Studies on the Effects of Tooth Brushing on Repair of Alveolar Bone After Periodontal Osseous Surgery in the Rat Incisor
(3) Pediatric Dentistry: Effects of Oral Health Education and Tooth-brushing on mutans Streptococci Infections in Young Children
(4) Journal of Clinical Periodontology: A Clinical Comparison of an Oscillating Rotating Powered Toothbrush and a Manual Toothbrush in Patients with Chronic Periodontitis
Colgate: Guide to Brushing
International Dental Journal: Can tooth Brushing Damage Your Health
KidsHealth: Taking Care of Your Teeth
Marks Daily Apple: How to Take Care of Your Teeth
New Health Guide: Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda
MayoClinic: When and How often Should You Brush Your Teeth