We’ve all heard the saying that your body is a temple so you need to treat it well. Taking care of your health is important, and while medical science is making great strides, that doesn’t get you off the hook when it comes to daily maintenance.
One of the best ways to make sure you stay healthy and feeling good is to take excellent care of your teeth. Having a healthy smile will keep you feeling confident, and help you avoid the complications that come with poor oral hygiene. Here are some great ways to make sure you are taking the best possible care of your teeth.
Brush Your Teeth the Right Way
Throwing toothpaste on a toothbrush and running it across your teeth just is not enough. There are a lot of people who assume that a quick brush once a day is sufficient, but it isn’t. Here is how you really should brush your teeth:
- Choose the right tools – The toothbrush and toothpaste that you choose are the basis for your brushing routine. There are tons of options out there of both types. In terms of toothbrushes, you can get a manual brush or an electric one, and you can choose soft, medium, or hard bristle types. The American Dental Association (ADA) weighs in on the issue saying that either option can work, “Whether you decide on manual or powered, choose a toothbrush that you like and find easy to use, so that you’ll use it twice a day to thoroughly clean all the surfaces of your teeth.”
- Brush those teeth – As noted above, the ADA recommends brushing your teeth twice a day. Here’s what the Mayo Clinic says about the best way to brush your teeth, “Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle — aiming the bristles toward the area where your tooth meets your gum. Gently brush with short back-and-forth motions. Remember to brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, as well as your tongue.” A complete cleaning takes a few minutes, but it will help you ensure that your entire mouth is clean.
A Guide to Flossing
A lot of people dread that awkward moment when their dentist asks how often they floss. Why do they keep asking? It’s because flossing really is important. There are little gaps and spaces between your teeth that need to be cleaned out regularly. Brushing your teeth can’t get into those tight places, so that’s where flossing comes in. Using dental floss regularly helps to prevent gum disease as it removes pieces of food and plaque from between your teeth that normal brushing can’t reach. When plaque is allowed to build up, the bacteria can cause inflammation and irritate the gums.
WebMD recommends that you floss twice a day, but if you can only fit in one session then choose to floss a night because, “’Your salivary flow is very low when you're sleeping,’ Srivastava says. ‘So for those 7 or 8 hours you're in bed, you're not washing away the bacteria teeming in your mouth.’” Don’t sleep with a bacteria-filled mouth, instead take a minute and floss before your head hits the pillow.
Mouth rinses Can Help
Even though your teeth probably feel extremely clean, there is another step that can be really beneficial. Again, we turn to the ADA for details on why mouth rinses and mouthwashes can help, “Mouth rinses are used for a variety of reasons: to freshen breath, to help prevent or control tooth decay, to reduce plaque (a thin film of bacteria that forms on teeth), to prevent or reduce gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease), to reduce the speed that tartar (hardened plaque) forms on the teeth, or to produce a combination of these effects.” With all of those benefits, it’s hard to justify not using a mouthwash.
One thing to remember is that you shouldn’t rinse right after you brush as you will be washing away all of the benefits that your toothpaste can provide. This includes rinsing with mouthwash, as it will remove all the concentrated fluoride in the toothpaste left on your teeth. To get the most out of your mouthwash, choose a different time to use it, for instance after lunch. Mouthwashes can be a great way to keep your entire mouth healthy, just make sure you stagger your use so as not to counteract the benefits of your toothpaste.
Taking excellent care of your teeth just makes sense. You’ll have fewer dentist visits, healthier teeth, and a better chance of preventing cavities and decay. Make oral hygiene a standard part of your daily routine, and you will be on track to keep your teeth healthy and sparkling white for many years to come.