Whether you realize it or not, you are forming oral health habits every time you brush and floss your teeth. These actions may seem mundane and insignificant at the time, but they will have a major impact on the health of your mouth over the years. That’s why it’s so important to not only practice good brushing and flossing techniques but also to make dental hygiene a priority in your daily life.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when practicing your oral hygiene regimen
When you brush your teeth at least twice a day, you remove food particles and plaque from the surface of your teeth before they have a chance to harden into tartar. This not only reduces your risk of developing cavities, but it also reduces the buildup of bacteria that contributes to gum disease. However, brushing alone can’t reach every area between your teeth or effectively clean your gums. This is where flossing comes in.
Make sure you floss every day to remove this buildup from between the teeth and the gum line.
- Make sure you’re always using a soft-bristled toothbrush – preferably one that’s approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Hard-bristled toothbrushes can cause damage to your gums and enamel over time by wearing down the tooth’s protective layers. This can also lead to gum recession, which can make your teeth appear longer and less healthy.
- Be gentle with your smile when you’re brushing to ensure you don’t overwork the soft tissue in your mouth. If you experience bleeding from your gums or cheeks after you’re done brushing, you might need to rethink your technique, so you’re not damaging your gums. You should also avoid brushing too aggressively as it can lead to receding gums while also pushing plaque below the gum line where you can’t reach it.
- Brush for at least two minutes every time that you brush your teeth. To time yourself, consider using a timer or humming your favorite song twice while brushing for an effective length of time.
- It’s important to be aware that some electric toothbrushes have a built-in two-minute timer that will shut off automatically. This way, you can make sure you don’t end up rushing through the process and potentially missing spots where food and bacteria can become trapped and lead to decay. (Of course, you should also make sure you are brushing for at least two minutes at a time to ensure you get to all tooth surfaces, and don’t forget the back sides of your back teeth!)
- A toothbrush is one of the most personal things a person will use, but it’s still important to remember to replace it on a regular basis. Studies show you should replace your toothbrush every three months or after you’ve been sick. Also, be sure to choose a brush with soft bristles to avoid damaging the enamel on your teeth.
To floss effectively, use a strand of floss that is approximately 18 inches long. Wrap each end around your pointer fingers and pinch it in the middle, so it forms a loop. Slide the index finger of the opposite hand through the loop and gently slide it up and down the sides of each tooth to clear away bacteria and food debris. You can also use a water irrigator to help flush the food and debris out from between teeth and along the gum line. Whatever you choose to floss, be sure not to skip any areas!
With proper brushing habits and dental care, you can get your smile to look its best for many years to come. In addition to brushing and flossing regularly, make sure you visit your dentist every six months for routine oral exams and professional cleanings.
To find out more about the dental services offered at Arlington Family Dental Care, call (817) 274-8439 or schedule a consultation online. You can also visit a Dentist in Arlington, TX, at 2621 Matlock Road, Suite 103, Arlington, TX 76015.