You’ve heard it before. Brush and floss or face the consequences. However, how do we know if we’ve done enough to avoid the consequences? Colgate has stated, “Even a regular oral hygiene routine could be leaving gaps if you engage in a few not-so-great habits.” Often times many of us ask ourselves what the true steps are to achieving healthy teeth. With so many factors and new studies being introduced, sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly what is best.
Brushing techniques are often overlooked. When brushing, there are three different areas to keep in mind. The outer surfaces of the teeth, the front teeth, and the molars. Outer surfaces of the teeth should be brushed using small, circular strokes that cover two to three teeth at a time. Front teeth should be done with the brush placed in a vertical position and short strokes should be used. For molars, the toothbrush should be moved back and forth focusing on two to three teeth at a time.
The flossing technique requires 18 inches of floss and specific movements. When you floss with 18 inches it gives the ability to use fresh floss and avoid reinserting bacteria. According to Washington Periodontics, “flossing is one of the most effective methods for removing plaque from the hard-to-reach surfaces between the teeth and near the gums.” When flossing, remember to place the floss between teeth with a gentle back-and-forth motion. Floss is moved from the gum line and then around the edge of the tooth in a sliding up-and-down motion.
One thing to note with flossing is that plaque or food particles removed from flossing should be rinsed out of the mouth after flossing. Flossing can also cause bleeding or feel sore when first attempted. As an individual adopts a daily flossing habit the gums will adapt and the bleeding will stop.
Clean brushes are important as you don’t want your toothbrush to carry bacteria. Colgate suggests to “rinse your brush after each use and allow it to air dry.” Covering your toothbrush can create new bacteria that can hurt your gums.
New brushes are important as the brush bristles will break down over time. It is important that you get a new brush every three to four months. One way to not forget is to get a new brush every time you visit the dentist.
Brush your teeth at least twice each day. Contrary to popular belief brushing twice a day is usually enough. It is important, however, that you floss just as often as you brush. A lot of food particles get stuck between teeth every meal.
There you have it. To have healthy teeth simply work on brushing technique, flossing technique, clean brushes, new brushes, and at least work on your brushing twice a day. While these things will give you a thumbs up from your dentist and your gums, it is important to always see a dentist on a regular basis. Dentists can remove the plaque and other things that have been building on your teeth and will always have personalized advice based on the individual. Everybody’s teeth are different and it is important that we give them the proper nurture and care that a trained professional can provide.