Most of us are guilty of occasionally skipping some aspect of our at-home dental care routines. While missing a flossing or other element of our total oral health now and then care can be overcome, repeated neglect of our teeth and gums can lead to bad oral hygiene habits and damage to our smiles.
Here are five important things to think about when caring for your smile.
The American Dental Association suggests starting by holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle at your gum line and using tooth-length back and forth strokes across the fronts and tops of your teeth.
For the backs of teeth, hold the brush vertically and use shorter strokes with a focus on the backs of front teeth where plaque often builds up. Brush for two minutes to ensure proper coverage and cleaning.
Choose a toothbrush whose head and bristles are small enough to navigate the hard to reach areas, including the crevices of your molars, where food debris often remains. Look for the ADA seal on both your toothpaste and toothbrush. A quality electric toothbrush is recommended for children and people who have difficulty with small motor skills, such as those with arthritis.
Keeping Your Toothbrush Clean
Rinse your toothbrush with hot water after use and allow it to air dry. This is especially important for those with gum disease as any remaining bacteria can be released into the bloodstream where it can affect other parts of your body. You should also replace your toothbrush every three months both for cleanliness and to make sure the bristles are effective.
Begin with a piece of floss up to 18 inches in length, using a fresh area of floss for every tooth to prevent redepositing bacteria. The floss should rub against the teeth in a motion that creates a forward or backward 'C' shape, wrapping the floss around each tooth. If flossing is difficult, interdental brushes are a great alternative and easier for some people to use.
Using a Mouthwash or Dental Rinse
Mouthwashes reach into crevices that can collect debris and help combat the effects of decay-causing bacteria. There are a wide variety of rinses available to meet the needs of individuals with unique dental issues. Be sure to look for the ADA seal on these products as well.
Making Healthy Choices
When snacking, remember the effect your choice is having on the health of your smile. Brush, or at least rinse your mouth with water, after eating sweets. When drinking acidic beverages, rinse immediately and then brush after 30 minutes. This prevents any acid-worn enamel from being brushed away. Always drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated and to help rinse away additional debris.
Proper oral hygiene should be part of everyone’s daily routine and can greatly benefit both your smile and your overall health. By following these five dental tips, and seeing your dentist regularly, you can ensure a mouth that is healthy and a smile that is beautiful.
To learn more about effective dental care and preserving your smile,
call Dr. Todd Martin at ART Dentistry Charlotte, NC today!