Welcome back to our continuing series on the best dental care practices for all ages. In our previous post, we examined the top ten things that you can do to help ensure that your mouth is healthy and stays healthy. In our follow up, we’ll look at the steps your daily oral care routine should include to keep your smile bright and in great shape.
Regardless of the stage of life, you’re in your oral health plays a critical role in both your self-confidence and your general health. While brushing and flossing your teeth may seem like a pretty routine part of your day, performing these tasks regularly and using the right technique is critical for your oral health.
1. Best Dental Care Practice: Brush Your Teeth 2x a Day!
Your dentist, television commercials and your mama have been telling you for years that you should brush your teeth twice a day. But are you brushing correctly? Be sure to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward your gum line for the best tooth coverage. Brush all tooth surfaces, including the chewing surfaces as well as the sides. Don’t forget to get behind your molars. Brush for a full two minutes, spending 30 seconds in each quadrant of your mouth.
2. Floss Your Teeth too!
In addition to brushing twice a day, you should floss your teeth once a day. This best dental care practice isn’t practiced nearly as much as the first, but it’s equally important to avoid plaque and tartar build-up. Not only do you want to remove any of the obvious food that you just chewed, but you want to ensure that you’ve gotten any other “leftovers” that may be hiding in the back of your mouth. Be sure to get enough floss for your entire mouth (roughly 45 cm, but who’s measuring), and follow the curve of your teeth with the floss so you don’t knick or scrape your gumline.
3. Don’t forget to Clean Your Tongue
Most people have learned to brush their tongue after brushing the rest of their mouths. However, very few people reapply toothpaste to their toothbrushes before scrubbing their tongue. When using your toothbrush to clean your tongue, add a small dab of toothpaste to your toothbrush and make small circular motions across the surface of your tongue. Be sure to clean as much (and as far back) as possible without gagging. Then rinse your mouth thoroughly. For a more thorough clean, use a tongue scraper. These can be purchased at just about any big box store or pharmacy. Just position the largest part of the scraper on your tongue and scrape gently. When you’re finished, rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash. You can also clean your tongue with floss, but it’s a little more complicated. Wrap the length of the floss around your index fingers, and use the length of the floss between your fingers to scrape your tongue. Then rinse.
4. Regularly Rinse with Mouthwash
Always follow up your brushing and flossing routine by rinsing your mouth with water, at a minimum. We also recommend the use of mouthwash to prevent tartar buildup and gum disease. You only need to swish a small amount throughout your entire mouth for 30-40 seconds. Be sure to swish from side to side, and gargle for fresh breath.
With these four best dental care practices, as well as eating a balanced and healthy diet, seeing your dentist regularly and practicing good oral hygiene habits, your teeth will remain healthy and strong. However, if you haven’t taken good care of your teeth in the past, and now need help in repairing cracked, chipped, broken or missing teeth, Dr. Katherine Garrett can help. Board-certified in numerous cosmetic dentistry procedures, Dr. Garrett can help you get the smile you’ve been dreaming of before the holidays!
Call to make an appointment for the whole family to get their cleaning and screening appointments done before the new year. Headed out of town this fall and need to know what to do in case of a dental emergency? See our previous post on what to do when you have a dental issue away from home.
Learn more about the complete list of services offered by Dr. Garrett by calling our office and scheduling a new patient appointment. We’d love to make your family part of ours!