Brush Your Teeth Every 12 Hours And Not Before That. Dentist Tells Why

Brushing our teeth twice a day is not enough, we must maintain the time difference of 12 hours between the two times to ward off dental infections.

Parmita Uniyal
Written by: Parmita UniyalUpdated at: Jun 28, 2021 00:49 IST
Brush Your Teeth Every 12 Hours And Not Before That. Dentist Tells Why

We all know by now that brushing our teeth twice a day for two minutes can save us from many dental problems including cavities, gum diseases etc and many of us have been following it religiously.  But did you know that what should be the ideal time difference between the two times you brush. Dr. Binita Srivastava, BDS (Hons), MDS, FPFA, FICD, FAM, Consultant Dental Surgeon and Pedodontist, Pediatric Dentist tells us why a time difference of 12 hours between the two times we brush is important and how it prevents our teeth and gum against infections.

Dr Srivastava explains in detail the science behind plaque formation and reveals when exactly the bits of food or sugar on the surface of teeth begin to cause harm to the teeth. 

Also Read: Can Brushing 3 Times A Day Reduce The Risk Of Heart Failure? A Research Says This

What Is Plaque And How It Forms

Brushing your teeth after every meal to clean out its surface might not be a practical idea.  That is why there is a rule of brushing your teeth two times a day. 

When you brush your teeth in the morning you do it to remove plaque, a sticky white coat that forms over it. Plaque is a natural protein deposition on teeth, gum, cheek, lip everywhere. It is basically protein sedimentation from saliva. 

Formation of Plaque Explained

Plaque is a very delicate layer of protein over teeth. Dr Srivastava says we can compare it to snowfall. When it snows, it falls on everything, from window panes to blades of the grass.  It is the same with plaque that falls on every surface of the mouth. But it doesn’t cause harm before 12 hours of eating food.

  • Now imagine our plaque deposition to be like a snowfall that deposits on every surface of the mouth. 
  • So what happens is when we are talking, our lips, cheeks, tongues are rubbing against the teeth. Wherever it is rubbing, plaque keeps getting removed. 
  • But there are portions in mouth, like depression in between two teeth or on gum margin that are not cleaned because of the shape of teeth. 
  • Our teeth are spherical organs, all depressed areas will retain plaque. 
  • After cleaning our teeth, the plaque will remain sterile or disinfected for 12 hours post which the bacteria, fungus, virus start to attack it
  • Plaque is like a wire mesh on windows. Bacteria get lodged on those small spaces in the mesh. It happens after 12 hours. Till 12 hours of the meal the plaque is not damaging for your teeth. The sugar gets incorporated in that mesh but it is not utilized by bacteria. 
Why We Must Brush Our Teeth Every 12 Hours

What Causes Tooth Decay And How To Prevent It

It is not the sugar that is damaging your tooth, rather it being the nutrition for bacteria found in mouth, which is their natural habitat, causes harm. That bacteria when it flourishes on sugar, its end product is an acid. That acid dissolves tooth surface that is decay. There will be no bacteria, there will be no decay. If the bacteria is not there tooth will not be decayed.

But We Cannot Live Without This Bacteria 

Bacteria in the mouth which is useful to us as it helps in carbohydrate metabolism, is also damaging our teeth because we are taking more carbohydrate than required. If we have more roughage, protein and foods that clean our teeth it is good for your teeth

Brush Every 12 Hours: The Ideal Cleaning Routine

  • If you are brushing teeth at 10 in the night, then the next brushing should be 10 am in the morning even if it is after breakfast. 
  • When we are brushing our teeth at midnight and then brush it again at 6am, what we essentially are doing is brushing a clean mouth. 
  • Some people are habitual to brush their teeth first thing in the morning after waking up. Dr. Srivastava says that you can do that if you want, but do not forget to brush again after 12 hours of your last cleaning. 

 Why We Must Brush Our Teeth Every 12 Hours

Post 12 hours, bacteria colonization starts so you must brush your teeth after that. It will not only prevent teeth but also gum infections. We cannot get rid of plaque as it is natural thing, but we must remove it at the right time to prevent from several dental issues.

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