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Are You Following the 2/2 Rule?

Are You Following the 2/2 Rule?
Posted on 02/06/2023

Did you know The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing for two minutes in the morning and two minutes at night with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste? You can brush more often if you like, or more often if needed, but the minimum for healthy teeth and gums follows the 2/2 rule – two minutes, twice per day.

Don’t rush when you brush. Sing a song in your head instead.

Admittedly, singing while brushing your teeth could be a challenge and quite messy! Instead, you could listen to a song on your playlist, or sing one in your mind to help you aim for the two-minute mark. Most pop songs are around two minutes in length, so simply find a favorite to listen to or mentally sing. Not into pop? The National Anthem, when sung slowly, offers well-known lyrics that are about two minutes in length. Brushing for two minutes means that each quadrant of your mouth should receive 30 seconds of brushing time. For children, singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or “The ABC Song” would roughly fit 30 seconds for each quadrant. As a bonus with the latter, your kids can learn their letters AND good oral hygiene at the same time. That’s a win for everyone!

Perhaps two minutes feels like much longer than what you've been doing. If so, you're not alone. Many people don’t spend the proper amount of time brushing. They fail to realize that less than two minutes is not optimal for oral health. One study detailed in an issue of “The Journal of Dental Hygiene” found most people only brush for about 45 seconds. Yet, increasing that time to two minutes helped remove up to 26% more plaque.

Some people worry that they may brush their teeth too much. Note that brushing your teeth three or four times per day, or after each meal, typically won’t damage your teeth. Brushing too hard or too soon after eating acidic foods, however, potentially could be. Brushing harder is not brushing better. So focus on using a light touch. Unsure if you’re brushing too hard? Look at your toothbrush. If the bristles are flattened, you may need to lighten up and you may also need a new toothbrush! Remember, even if it isn’t showing signs of wear, you should still change your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.

Following the 2/2 rule may not guarantee perfect checkups and no cavities during your dental visit. But it will provide clinically significant oral health benefits that can save you in both comfort and cost.

At MaconSmiles our experts can give you information about the ADA’s 2/2 rule and other suggestions for improving the dental health of your family. Book an appointment today, as your dentist is here who can help you to care for your smile in simple and easy ways.

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