No matter what age or stage you find yourself, it is easy to move oral hygiene to the bottom of each day’s to-do list. But before you settle for a piece of gum instead of your toothbrush, consider the benefits of a consistent oral hygiene routine that you may be missing.
Great smiles begin with a dedicated daily oral hygiene routine. Carving a few minutes out of your day, twice a day, to look after your teeth can boost your confidence in your smile, save you money from avoiding expensive repair work in the future, and eliminate painful toothaches.
So what does an effective daily oral hygiene routine entail?
Brush Your Teeth
Brushing your teeth twice a day, usually once in the morning and once in the evening, is one of the best ways to take care of your mouth. Brushing your teeth removes plaque and bacteria that can cause tooth decay and bad breath.
Here are some tips to remember when brushing:
- Brush for roughly two minutes, generally spending about 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth
- Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle against your gums
- Use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste
- Ensure the toothbrush you are using has soft bristles and fits the size of your mouth
- Replace the toothbrush every 3-4 months (or sooner if the bristles become frayed)
Floss Between Your Teeth
Flossing is often the forgotten child in the oral hygiene family. Brushing can often leave the surfaces of your teeth feeling clean and your breath minty fresh. So why is it so important to floss?
Flossing actually goes hand in hand with brushing to ensure an ‘all-over’ clean of your mouth. There are a handful of areas, specifically between teeth and around the gums, that toothbrushes can’t reach, so floss is needed to finish the job that your toothbrush started.
Foregoing your flossing routine can cause a buildup of plaque in these hard-to-reach areas. If not removed, plaque can harden to become calculus or tartar, which requires a professional cleaning appointment for removal.
Although flossing requires a bit of extra effort, you really only need to do it once a day. Here are some further tips for flossing:
- Use about 17-18 inches of floss, wrapping it around a finger on either hand, leaving 1-2 inches of floss to slide between each tooth
- Follow the curve of each tooth by gently gliding the floss. Avoid snapping the floss against the gums
- Don’t forget to floss the teeth in the back of your mouth
If you don’t like dental floss, there are many products that effectively accomplish the same job, such as pre-threaded flossers, tiny brushes that reach between the teeth, water flossers, or wooden plaque removers. Talk to your dentist about the interdental cleaner that’s right for you.
Rinse Your Mouth With Mouthwash
Rinsing your mouth for 30-40 seconds with a mouthwash after brushing and/or flossing will eliminate any lingering bacteria. Your dentist may recommend a special type of mouth rinse for you to use based upon what your mouth needs.
Clean Your Tongue
Did you know that bad breath, or halitosis, generally comes from bacteria that has formed on the tongue? A quick way to eliminate bad breath is to clean your tongue during or right after your brushing session. This can be done by moving your toothbrush in circular motions around your tongue, scraping a piece of floss from the back of the tongue to the front of your mouth, or using a tongue scraper.
Eat a Balanced Diet
In this case, eating an apple a day might actually keep the dentist away–until it’s time for your routine wellness check-up, that is.
A diet that consists of large amounts of soda, sugar, and greasy foods can wreak havoc on your oral health. Not only do some foods and drinks stain your teeth (soda, tea, coffee, wine), but unremoved sugars and acids cause and speed up the process of tooth decay and gum disease.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
You shouldn’t wait to visit your dentist until you have a toothache. Prevention is one of the best ways to stop problems before they develop. So save yourself the pain, worry and expense of dealing with dental issues; schedule your routine office visit.
If you’re in the Mullins, South Carolina area, then why not come visit us at Blevins Dentistry? Dr. Blevins and his team will take great care of you. We can also discuss your daily oral hygiene habits, answer any questions you might have, or give advice on the type of toothbrush or toothpaste you might need. Contact us today for an appointment…we’d love to meet you!