A healthy, fresh, beautiful smile begins with a practice we are all very familiar with – regular brushing and flossing. While we now know more than ever how to best take care of our teeth, humans have used various techniques over the last few thousand years to help maintain strong teeth. No longer do we have to find tree twigs, porcupine quills, or even bones to clean our teeth – we can go to the store and buy state-of-the-art toothbrushes. (Or get them after our regular visit with our dentist!)
It is very important we understand how to take good care of our oral hygiene, after all, there is a lot more at stake than just your smile. Dentists generally agree that good oral hygiene starts with brushing your teeth at least twice daily; after you eat breakfast and before bed time. A simple brushing with plain water or rinsing your mouth after lunch will also help reduce bacteria and keep your mouth fresh. Interdental cleaning is just as important – a toothbrush is not always able to reach all the places between your teeth, as much as 50%! This is why flossing, whether it is with floss, flossettes, or interdental brushes, helps ensure you keep plaque down to a minimal before it becomes a more serious problem.
And that’s why routine brushing and flushing is so critically important – it’s the only way to fight tooth decay, prevent cavities and gum disease. Most people, whether it’s with a manual or electric tooth brush, spend less than 60 seconds brushing their teeth. Many oral health care professionals recommend that at least two minutes be spent brushing, twice a day.
Manual toothbrushes can be very effective at removing plaque when used properly. If you are unsure which technique to use please simply ask us to show you when you visit us for your regular dental checkup. Generally it is good to avoid a “back and forth” motion and instead use small circular motions at a 45 degree angle. There is also the choice to use one of two types of electrical tooth brushes, which can help reach and break up bacteria deeper below the gum line.
Nowadays there are many different opinions on how to best take care of your oral hygiene. Of all the advice and techniques offered there is always one all dental professionals can agree on: Take your time when you are brushing and flossing and do it at least twice daily. If you are unsure how to floss, ask us to show you! You may also be interested to try a variety of other tools such as tongue scrapers or mouth wash.
Besides making sure your teeth, gums, and tongue are well taken care of, if you have any dental appliances such dentures or retainers the same level of care has to be given to these.
By following some of these tips, staying consistent with cleaning our teeth, and regularly visiting our dental hygienist we will all be able to have strong and healthy gums and teeth.
Did you know?
- Teeth and gums are just like other muscles or bones in your body. Eating healthy foods can help with good oral hygiene. Vitamin C, for example, is needed for healthy gums. In extreme cases, the lack of Vitamin C can cause scurvy.
- Chewing sugar free gum can assist in keeping the surface of your teeth clean by promoting saliva production and disturbing leftover foods.