According to the American Dental Association, you should brush twice per day and for two minutes each time. Why twice? The answer has to do with the timeline of plaque and tartar formation.

Plaque is a sticky, smelly film made up of various bacteria. It naturally forms in your mouth throughout both day and night. Once present, it feeds on carbohydrates that enter your mouth every time you eat. Fortunately, you remove plaque whenever you brush and floss.

When plaque isn’t removed regularly, it absorbs minerals in your saliva to transform into tartar. This process takes 24 to 72 hours. Unlike plaque, tartar forms a hard coating on teeth that can only be removed through in-office professional dental procedures. Tartar harms your gums and makes affected tooth areas even more vulnerable to the growth of new plaque.

In other words, the ADA’s twice-daily brushing guideline is meant to ensure that you remove most plaque before it has time to become tartar. It’s also meant to provide a buffer by taking into account that you may not achieve perfection during every single brushing session.

If you’re already brushing twice per day, you can further improve your home hygiene game by focusing on some of the most commonly neglected areas around your mouth. A major such area is the inner, or tongue-facing, side of each of your teeth. During in-office dental visits, it’s extremely common for patients to require tartar removal across those areas.

The gumline is another frequently neglected area. It’s simple to target your own gumline effectively by consistently angling your toothbrush at 45 degrees, toward your gums. This can be tricky in those tongue-facing areas. However, using that 45-degree angle improves blood circulation in your gums as well as removes plaque hiding at the gumline. That makes it worthwhile to practice doing all the way around your mouth.

By keeping our advanced brushing tips in mind, you’ll soon find it easy to keep your whole mouth maximally clean and fresh between your dental visits. Just remember to follow the ADA’s recommendation and take brush in hand twice per day.

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