There are several reasons why dentists recommend that you do Brushing and Flossing twice a day. Keeping your teeth and gums clean will not only maintain their whiteness, but it will also keep you healthier.
Whether you’re already in the habit of performing good oral care and want to take your routine to the next level, or you’re trying to establish a strong base of good dental hygiene, follow these seven tips to get it right.
Brush Twice Daily- The Second Time Right Before Bed
Make it a habit that the last thing you do before you crawl into bed and turn out the lights is brush your teeth. Not only will doing it in the evening help protect your mouth against the build-up of plaque, gum disease, and tooth decay, but it could also help manage staining, yellowing, and morning breath too.
If it’s the last thing you do before bed, you’ll ensure that you don’t undo all your hard work by having one more snack that could leave food particles in your mouth.
Brush Up on Your Technique
Although there’s no wrong way to brush your teeth, there are several ways to do it better. Practicing good form with your toothbrush will get your teeth cleaner, remove more plaque, and keep your gums healthier without the risk of damaging your enamel or irritating the soft tissues in your mouth. Here’s how to do it right.
Choose a toothbrush that’s the right size for your mouth with bristles that are comfortable. Position the brush head so that the bristles are at a 45-degree angle to your gumline. Apply a light pressure so that you feel the bristles stroking between your teeth and gums, but don’t smash them into your mouth.
Brush systematically, starting with the outside surfaces of your teeth. Work your way across them using small, short, circular strokes and a back and forth scrubbing motion focusing from your gumline to the top of your teeth. Then, move on to the inside surfaces in the same pattern and with the same technique.
Next, move on to the chewing surfaces in your mouth. Brush those straight on, and then move behind your front teeth. Rotate your toothbrush vertically and use up and down strokes to clear away plaque.
While brushing, watch your technique in the mirror to ensure that you hit every tooth and cover the entire surface. It should take at least two minutes to clean your whole mouth. Finish the job by brushing your tongue. Oral bacteria can get trapped around your taste buds, so use a back and forth motion to remove them before you rinse and floss.
Although the American Dental Association suggests that both manual and electric toothbrushes are effective at keeping your teeth clean, there are several perks to using an electric model. Not only are they easy to use, thanks to their rotating and oscillating brush heads, but they also remove plaque from your teeth without all the hard work.
Although you’ll still have to brush for at least two minutes, they are an efficient choice that is especially popular at polishing hard-to-reach teeth.
If you’re someone who has mobility issues, or if you don’t have the dexterity to make those tiny little circles that get your teeth clean, electric toothbrushes are a lifesaver.
Yes, You Really Have to Floss
We promise, your dentist doesn’t recommend flossing just to drive you crazy; and yes, they know if you haven’t been doing it. Flossing is an extremely beneficial practice that removes debris and food particles from between your teeth and also clears out plaque buildup while it’s still soft and easy to remove.
If you’ve ever been to the dentist and felt like they were chiseling away at your gums and teeth, that’s because the plaque had time to harden and it turned into tartar. That’s much more difficult to get out of the way, and only a professional cleaning can fix it.
Leaving food particles between your teeth creates a breeding ground for bacteria, especially while you’re sleeping at night. That can lead to additional issues if it’s neglected over time that is much more serious than really hideous morning breath.
Flossing requires a bit of finesse, and here are some tips to ensure you’re doing it correctly.
Begin with a piece of floss that’s about 18 inches long. Wind the majority of it around one of your middle finger on your dominant hand and the rest around the same finger on the opposite hand.
Spread your fingers to tighten the floss so that there is about one inch strung between your hands. Use a gentle sawing motion to saw the floss between your teeth pressing towards the gumline.
When you reach your gums, you’ll feel resistance. At this point, sweep the floss in a C curve against your tooth to get down one side of the gumline, come back up, and around the other side. It helps to look in the mirror to ensure you hit all the crevices.
Next, pull the floss against each tooth and gently scrape side to side and up and down on the side moving up and away from the gum. Do these steps for every tooth, including those in the very back without teeth next to them.
Remember, flossing might be a bit uncomfortable and bleeding a bit isn’t uncommon. If you haven’t regularly been flossing, it may take several days to remove built-up bacteria which will help the soft tissue calm down. Even if you’re still a bit sore from flossing the day before, it’s okay (and recommended) to do it again.
Use Mouthwash to Rinse
Although mouthwash is best known for giving you fresh, minty breath, the right one can also improve your oral hygiene. Therapeutic mouth rinses with specialized ingredients are a good choice to help preserve your enamel, keep your teeth strong, and may treat oral health conditions too. Using a therapeutic mouthwash is one additional way to remove plaque, prevent cavities, and keep your gums healthy.
However, there is a catch. Most mouthwashes that you buy over-the-counter at a drugstore won’t get the job done. Dentists call these cosmetic mouthwashes because all they do is mask bad breath. If you want to add one with actual benefits to your regimen, talk with your dentist about which option is best for you.
Be Cautious of the Clench
Around eight percent of the population grinds their teeth when they sleep, and up to 20 percent does it when they’re awake. Teeth grinding is a condition that can have some nasty side effects. If you wake up to the orn tissue on your cheek or tongue or notice increased sensitivity in your teeth, you might be doing it when you sleep.
Talk to your dentist right away to ensure you don’t end up causing permanent damage that would require dental work to fix. Although they won’t be able to cure you, they can make you a custom fitted mouth guard to wear at night that will offer your teeth protection from the side effects of clenching and grinding.
Visit Your Dentist for Regular Cleanings
Depending on your oral care routine, teeth, and how quickly you develop tartar buildup, you may need to see your dentist for cleanings as frequently as once a quarter. Schedule, and keep these appointments to ensure that your mouth and gums stay healthy over the long haul. Preventative care is a critical component to avoid developing serious conditions or needing expensive dental work.
It’s also important to head to the dentist as soon as you sense that something might be wrong. Unchecked dental issues can make the problem worse, which can lead to health complications and more expensive fixes. Here are a few examples of when to schedule an appointment immediately.
- Your gums are swollen, red, and tender all the time
- Your gums bleed when you brush or floss
- You notice your gums receding away from your teeth
- One of your permanent teeth cracks, chips, or falls out
- You notice a change in your bite or the alignment of your teeth
- A tooth or area of your mouth has a sudden sensitivity to hot or cold
- You have persistent bad breath or always have a strange taste in your mouth that doesn’t go away when you brush
- You have a sore inside your mouth that isn’t healing
Some Things To Remember
When it comes to oral care, something is always better than nothing. In less than five minutes you can give your teeth a thorough brushing, a precise flossing, and rinse with a therapeutic mouthwash.
If you don’t have five minutes to spare, do what you can with the time you have. Try to schedule enough time daily to take care of your teeth. It will save you time, money, and potentially some pain in the long run.