Take the first step to a bright, healthy smile
By practicing the right personal dental hygiene practices, you can have a functional, beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. At our Scottsdale, Arizona, dental clinic, we advise patients on how to achieve this at home.
You know you are supposed to brush and floss twice a day, but do you know how to do it correctly so you achieve the optimal benefits?
Brushing Your Teeth
Electric toothbrushes take the guesswork out of brushing, but if you use an ordinary toothbrush, you can still get your teeth clean. Select a soft-bristled brush; stiff bristles can wear away gums, causing sensitivity and other dental issues. Start by wetting your toothbrush and adding a pea-sized drop of toothpaste, not an inch-long squeeze like you see in toothpaste advertisements. Be sure the toothpaste you choose is approved by the American Dental Association and contains at least 1,000 parts per million of fluoride. Any other ingredients — including whitening — do little to promote healthy teeth.
Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and brush in small circles so that you can feel the brush on your gums. Brush the inside, outside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, and your tongue as well. This helps get rid of bacteria and promotes fresh breath.
Brush for two minutes — set a timer if necessary.
Flossing dislodges foods that are stuck between teeth and under the gumline. It also disturbs bacterial colonies, helping to ward off decay.
Using a flossing tool is fine, but you can also simply use a roll of floss. Take enough floss to wrap around each finger a couple of times so that you can quickly floss all your teeth without continually losing your grip on the floss. Gently slide the floss between your teeth and up to the gumline in a C path.
Do not be alarmed if your gums bleed when you floss. While you should not floss aggressively, bleeding usually indicates that you have not been flossing regularly. The more you floss, the less your gums will bleed.
After you are finished flossing, rinse your mouth with water and spit. This gets rid of food particles and bacteria. You should brush after every meal and snack, but if this is not practical, try to rinse your mouth with water.
When you snack during the day, you are often doing it on the go. Thus, there is less chance that you will brush after you snack. Additionally, many snacks are sugary or starchy, such as candy bars, crackers and muffins. Sugars and starches are the worst for your teeth, combining in your mouth to create harmful colonies of bacteria.
If you must snack, choose non-sugary and non-starchy foods such as fruits and vegetables. If you can, keep a toothbrush and toothpaste at your place of work to use after lunch or after eating other snacks. Also, if you have Invisalign, it’s critically important to brush your teeth after you eat before you put the aligners back in.
Practicing good dental hygiene will reduce your chances of needing dental work such as fillings, roots canals, crowns and dental implants.
We hope this advice helps you practice good dental hygiene at home. To schedule a checkup or a dental appointment for another reason, call our Scottsdale, Arizona, dentist office today.