Maintaining a basic oral hygiene routine is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth. Fortunately, it’s also one of the easiest. It’s really a matter of brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly. Doing so will help prevent your most common dental health problems while also catching any other health issues before they become a bigger problem.
To brush up on dental hygiene basics, we’ll look at:
- Brushing your teeth
- Regular dental checkups
You may be able to get away with skipping one or more of these basics for a while, but it will eventually catch up with you. Missing out on even one of these steps can affect your health. Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent that from happening.
Brushing Your Teeth
The first step to keeping your teeth in their best shape is to brush twice a day for 2 minutes each. Make sure to choose a toothbrush with soft or extra-soft bristles and that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Softer bristles will protect your teeth and gums from brushing too hard and the ADA Seal of Acceptance guarantees that your brush has been tested for quality and safety.
Make sure that you’re using the proper brushing technique to get the most out of your two minutes. You can do this with a manual toothbrush by:
- Holding the brush so that its head is at a 45-degree angle with your gums
- Brush your teeth back and forth with soft strokes
Do this with the chewing surfaces of your teeth as well as their interior and exterior surfaces. To clean the interior part of your front teeth efficiently, hold the brush vertically and move the head in an up and down motion.
There’s some debate on whether electric toothbrushes are superior to the manual variety. While both have been shown to clean teeth effectively, there is evidence that electric brushes may do a better job than the manual kind. The brushing technique for electric brushes is different from manual brushes, so you’ll want to talk to one of our team members when you make the switch.
For most people, brushing twice a day for two minutes isn’t that big of a deal. Flossing, on the other hand, is a completely different story. It needs to be done once per day to remove harmful bacteria. According to the CDC, around one-third of adults in the U.S. don’t floss at all. That’s a large portion of American adults that are missing out on an essential aspect of dental hygiene.
Flossing is important because it can reach places your toothbrush can’t. This is key for preventing common oral health problems such as cavities and gum disease. As plaque builds up on your teeth, it eventually turns into tartar which can cause gum and bone tissue to break down. It can only be removed by a dental professional.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools to help clean between your teeth. You can choose between traditional dental floss, dental picks, or even special brushes designed to get between your teeth. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re flossing at least once per day so that bacteria doesn’t have a chance to turn into something more serious.
Like using a manual toothbrush, you want to make sure that you’re using the proper technique when flossing so that you’re removing the most bacteria possible. Just follow these simple steps.
- Select a long piece of dental floss (around 18 inches)
- Wrap each end around your middle fingers
- Holding it between your thumb and index finger, gently slide the floss between your teeth
- Gently slide the floss up and down against each tooth to remove bacteria
Flossing is essential for removing harmful bacteria hiding in your mouth. Find some extra time each day, preferably after eating, to perform this important part of dental hygiene.
Regular Dental Checkups
Last but certainly not least is visiting your dentist every six months. According to Mouth Healthy, around 100 million Americans don’t go to the dentist. This is a huge problem, considering that it’s as essential for your overall health as well as your oral health.
As the starting point for your respiratory and digestive systems, your mouth is also a gateway that bacteria use to enter your body. As a result, you can develop health problems that you may have never guessed were connected to your oral health.
Health problems connected to dental hygiene include:
- Premature birth
Another big concern is cardiovascular disease. While we don’t fully understand the link, evidence suggests a connection between oral bacteria and serious issues such as stroke, heart disease, and clogged arteries.
Of course, visiting the dentist helps catch oral health problems, too. Your dentist can help diagnose and treat persistent oral health problems such as:
- Bad breath
- Gums that bleed easily
- Problems chewing or swallowing
- Sensitive teeth
Skipping the dentist can lead to serious repercussions for both your oral and overall health. Not only is your dentist able to diagnose and treat oral health problems, but they can also recognize other health issues that are related to your mouth. This is why visiting the dentist every six months is essential for having optimum health.
My Family Dentistry is open Monday through Thursday and every other Friday. Give us a call at (865) 947-6453 or you can schedule an appointment online.