What's the single best way to ensure a healthy mouth? You would think we would say "by going to the denstist!" But no, the real answer is: daily cleaning of your teeth thoroughly at home. By practicing good oral hygiene and scheduling regular checkups with the dentist, you can help keep your smile bright and healthy for many years to come. Here are a few simple ways that you can prevent the build-up of plaque, and stop gum disease and cavities:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Use fluoride toothpaste to remove food particles and plaque from the tooth surfaces, including under the gums. Also be sure to brush the top surface of your tongue; this will remove any extra plaque-causing food particles, and help keep your breath fresh!
- Clean between your teeth by flossing at least once a day. If you are having trouble handling the floss, see our tutorial below. If still struggling, try "floss picks." Sold at your pharmacy, they are small disposable plastic handles with a piece of pre-strung floss attached.
- After brushing and flossing, you can also use a mouthwash to help kill bacteria and freshen your breath. While not as important as brushing and flossing, the right mouth wash can be quite effective when used in combination with flossing: disease-causing bacteria thrive between teeth, causing both cavities and gum disease. Floss removes a lot of bacteria and disrupts their protective layers, while mouthwash can deliver the knockout blow to anything left behind! So what are effective mouthwashes? To prevent gum disease, Listerine® or Crest Pro-Health® are great. For cavity prevention, ACT® or Listerine Total Care® are appropriate. Generic versions of those brands work too!
- Eat a balanced diet, and try to avoid extra-sugary treats. Nutritious foods such as raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese, or fruit can help keep your smile healthy.
- We can't always resist the sugary snacks, so when you indulge, either brush or drink water immediately after to wash that sugar off.
- Remember to schedule regular checkups with your dentist at least every six months for a professional teeth cleaning.
- Ask your dentist about dental sealants, protective plastic coatings that can be applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay often starts.
- If you play sports, be sure to ask your dentist about special mouthguards designed to protect your smile.
If it's been six months since your last dental checkup, then it's time to contact our practice and schedule your next appointment!
- Brushing Instructions
Brushing: Step 1
Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum.
Brushing: Step 2
Brush gently in a circular motion.
Brushing: Step 3
Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.
Brushing: Step 4
Use the tip of your brush for the inner surface of your front teeth.
- Flossing Instructions
Flossing: Step 1
Wind about 18 inches of floss around your fingers as shown. Most of it should be wrapped around one finger, and the other finger takes it up as the floss is used.
Flossing: Step 2
Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide about one inch of floss between your teeth.
Flossing: Step 3
Holding the floss tightly, gently saw it between your teeth. Then curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and gently slide it beneath your gums.
Flossing: Step 4
Slide the floss up and down, repeating for each tooth.