Oral hygiene is an extremely important part of your daily routine and habits. There are many factors that go into maintaining good oral hygiene practices such as brushing your teeth, flossing, making regular trips to the dentist for exams & cleanings, and keeping a balanced diet. There are proper ways to use these various dental aids that will help keep your mouth healthy and your smile beautiful!
Proper Brushing Techniques
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste. You should especially brush your teeth at night before going to bed. Follow these tips to brush your teeth with the proper techniques:
- Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle where the gums and teeth meet.
- Use small circular motions to gently brush the gum line and teeth.
- Do not scrub or apply too much pressure to the teeth, as this can damage the gums and tooth enamel.
- Brush every surface of every tooth, cheek-side, tongue-side, and chewing surfaces. Place special emphasis on the surfaces of the back teeth.
- Use back and forth strokes to brush the chewing surfaces.
- Brush the tongue to remove bacteria, food, and debris.
You may use an electric toothbrushes because they are easier to use and remove plaque from your teeth more efficiently. When using an electric toothbrush you should place the bristles of the brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job on each tooth. You can read more about why it’s important to brush your teeth in this post!
Proper Flossing Techniques
Flossing daily is the best and most effective way to clean between your teeth and under your gum line. Flossing helps to clean these spaces as well as break up plaque colonies that can potentially build up and cause damage to your gums, teeth, and bone. Follow these tips to ensure your are flossing properly:
- Cut a piece of floss to around 18 inches long.
- Wrap one end of the floss around the middle finger of the left hand and the other end around the middle finger of the right hand until the hands are 2-3 inches apart.
- Work the floss gently between the teeth toward the gum line.
- Curve the floss in a C-shape around each individual tooth and carefully slide it beneath the gum line.
- Carefully move the floss up and down several times to remove interdental plaque and debris.
- Do not pop the floss in and out between the teeth as this will inflame and cut the gums.
If you have difficulty using conventional floss, we recommend using floss holders which will accomplish the same job as conventional floss. Learn more about the proper flossing technique.
Rinsing Your Mouth
Alongside brushing and flossing, it is also important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing as well as after eating. You may also use an over the counter product for rinsing such as mouthwash but we typically suggest you consult with your dental professional on such products to ensure you are using what’s best for you.
Following these steps and processes at home are pertinent to your oral hygiene and help prevent tooth decay, periodontal disease or gum disease, halitosis or chronic bad breath, and staining of the teeth.
Regular Dental Exams & Cleanings
Alongside practicing proper oral hygiene at home, it is pertinent to visit your dentist at least twice a year. Regular dental visits help maintain the health of your teeth and gums through deep cleanings and thorough exams. During a dental examination your dentist will monitor the following things:
- Medical history review – Knowing the status of any current medical conditions, new medications, and illnesses, gives us insight to your overall health as well as your dental health.
- Oral cancer screening – Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation – Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Examination of tooth decay – All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
- Examination of existing restorations – Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
- Removal of calculus or tartar – Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for sometime and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
- Removal of plaque – Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums which can cause periodontal disease.
- Teeth polishing – Removes stain and plaque that cannot be removed during regular toothbrushing.
- Oral hygiene recommendations – Review and recommend oral hygiene aids as needed such as electric dental toothbrushes, special cleaning aids, fluorides, rinses, etc.
- Review dietary habits – Your eating habits play a very important role in your dental health.
Following all of these oral hygiene tips and best practices should keep your mouth healthy and free of disease. At our dental practice we are dedicated to providing our patients with the best possible care, leaving your smile healthy and happy. Contact us today or request an appointment online for your next cleaning!