Scheduling cleaning exams every six months is important if you wish to maintain good oral hygiene, but how you take care of your teeth and gums between each exam is even more important. Patients understand that brushing and flossing should be done on a daily basis, but do you know what you’re preventing by keeping up with the routine?
Here is what you’ll prevent if you brush and floss correctly:
- Tooth decay – Tooth decay is a leading cause of tooth loss and it occurs when plaque erodes the natural enamel found on teeth.
- Periodontal Disease – This progressive condition is responsible for tooth loss, gum recession and other problems. It is caused by a buildup of plaque, but brushing your teeth helps remove unwanted plaque and it’s necessary if you want to avoid periodontal disease.
- Halitosis – Better known as bad breath, halitosis is caused by food particles getting caught between the teeth. Consistent brushing and flossing will prevent halitosis.
- Staining – Tooth staining or yellowing of the teeth is caused by a number of factors, including smoking, coffee and tea. If you brush and floss on a regular basis and schedule cleaning exams, staining won’t be a problem.
Brushing Your Teeth the Right Way
It is recommended to brush your teeth at least twice a day – once in the morning and once before bed. Your toothbrush should be small in size, have soft bristles, and less than three months old. Electric toothbrushes are highly recommended but a standard brush does a good job too. A proper brushing technique consists of:
- Using small, circular motions to brush the teeth and gum line
- Applying slight pressure without aggravating the gums
- Brushing the teeth, gums, tongue, and sides of your mouth
- Using back and forth motions on chewing surfaces
Flossing the Right Way
Flossing is the best way to get rid of plaque between the teeth and under the gums. You may have to try several different brands of floss to find the one you like, but it’s worth the hassle. Here is how you should be flossing:
- Your piece of floss should be about 15 inches long
- Wrap the floss around a finger on each hand until the ends are two to three inches apart
- Move the floss carefully between each tooth and gum line
- Slide the floss up and down to remove plaque and excess food particles
If you need additional help on properly brushing and flossing your teeth, we would be more than happy to assist you at your next appointment.