We all have some idea in our minds how long we should be brushing our teeth for. Twice a day for about two minutes. Sure, we often never quite hit those numbers, two minutes feels like forever when you’ve got a tiny broom in your mouth and nothing else going on. But we feel pretty safe in assuming that’s the correct amount of time we should be brushing our teeth for.
Guess what though, that could be wrong. Prepare to have everything you’ve ever believed about teeth cleaning questioned. Okay, not everything, just the time you should be doing it for. Research from the Saudi Journal of Oral and Dental Research (hell of a beach read that journal) suggests that we should be brushing our teeth for up to 3 or 4 minutes to get rid of as much plaque as possible.
The reason we brush our teeth in the first place is to get rid of plaque and the more you brush the more plaque you get rid of. Here’s the trick though: too much brushing can also be bad for your teeth and gums. What’s the right balance? Who’s right about this? Conventional wisdom? Your dentist? That journal?
Where did this two mintues twice a day come from? It kicked off in the seventies and took hold from there. Before then who knows what they were recommending we do with our teeth. There’s was probably some turn of the century dentist who recommended rinsing your mouth out with tobacco.
The problem with this “brush for three to four minutes” is that it doesn’t come with enough conclusive evidence that brushing for longer leads to better long term oral health. All we know for sure is definitely keep brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time, floss and use toothpaste. Also don’t rinse your mouth out with Sunkist, that’s bad for a lot of reasons.