The regular care and maintenance of your teeth and gums are crucial in preventing tooth decay and gum disease. While we all have likely been taught at an early age to make sure to brush our teeth every day, is it enough to maintain a healthy, white smile?
It’s a common belief that a simple brushing of the teeth, regardless of how long or thorough it is, is enough. While it is recommended that patients to brush their teeth every day, there is a better way to do it.
First, when it comes to brushing your teeth, it ought to be done twice a day; once in the morning and once in the evening just before bedtime. When you sleep, the saliva production decreases, drying out the mouth. A dry mouth creates an ideal environment for plaque to form and bacteria to grow. Brushing your teeth right before bedtime and in the morning shortly after you get up will minimize the bacteria activity and plaque build-up.
When you brush your teeth, a quick brush-over won’t cut it. Plaque and bacteria live and thrive in the crevices on teeth surfaces and between teeth. A quick brushing of the surface of teeth will fail to clean off the majority of plaque-causing debris. It is recommended that patients brush their teeth for a solid two minutes. In these two minutes, try to brush all surfaces of the teeth as well as gently massaging the gums and gently scraping the top surface of the tongue. Be sure to not brush too hard or too vigorously as this can scrape off tooth enamel and injure and irritate gum tissue. A soft-bristled toothbrush is also recommended.
Don’t Forget About Flossing
Even if you have an impeccable teeth brushing routine, it isn’t enough to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. As mentioned earlier, plaque-causing debris and bacteria tend to accumulate between teeth. The spaces between teeth are too small for a toothbrush to adequately clean.
This is where flossing comes in.
Many patients exclude flossing from their at-home oral hygiene for many reasons including the tedious, time-consuming nature of it and the fear of cutting their gums and causing them to bleed.
Flossing, however, is the best way to dislodge those stuck food particles that will turn into cavity-causing plaque. As effective as flossing is in removing hard-to-reach food particles, it should take the place of teeth brushing. Both are necessary for proper oral hygiene.
Patients should floss at least once a day. Flossing does take a few minutes, but healthy teeth and gums will be your reward.
Use Mouthwash for Extra Clean
Mouthwash is a great, optional add-on to your at-home oral hygiene routine. Mouthwash can aid in producing a clean mouth by washing debris from the surface and crevices of the surface of teeth as well as dislodging food particles in between teeth.
Mouthwash often contains alcohol, an anti-septic that produces a burning, fresh clean feeling in the mouth. Mouthwash can also help freshen breath.