Taking care of your oral health is key to your overall health. Poor oral health is associated with health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Not only that, but taking proper care of your teeth can boost your confidence because you’ll have a beautiful, white smile. Effective brushing only takes two minutes, twice a day, and you should floss every time you brush your teeth. Want to learn more about how to take care of your oral health? Check out these rules for brushing and flossing.
Did you know? There’s a wrong way to brush your teeth, and you might be doing it. Brushing your teeth twice a day is recommended by dentists, but you can brush your teeth more than that, especially after each meal, to remove food stuck between your teeth and plaque and tartar that’s built up throughout the day.
When brushing your teeth, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and use only enough pressure to feel the bristles rub gently against your gums. There’s no reason to use force when brushing your teeth. Vigorous motions and pressing the bristles into your teeth won’t remove plaque any better, and it could irritate your gums.
While you’re brushing, make sure to brush along your gum line and try to reach every single tooth, even around the molars in the back. For the freshest breath possible and to remove bacteria that can lead to plaque, make sure to brush your tongue, too.
When shopping for a toothbrush, you’ll see many different options. But, whether you choose an electric toothbrush or a regular one, always choose something that has soft, rounded bristles that are easy to hold. Toothbrushes with hard bristles don’t clean teeth better. Instead, they could actually be wearing away your enamel.
Length of Time
You should brush your teeth for two minutes every time you brush your teeth. So if you brush your teeth twice a day, that equals only four minutes. Ultimately, in just four minutes, you can ensure your oral health and prevent painful tooth decay. Some electric toothbrushes have a timer on them and will stop vibrating when it’s time to move to the next section of your mouth. However, you can also set a timer on your smartphone to track how long you’re brushing your teeth.
Type of Toothpaste
Ultimately, any brand of toothpaste you choose should be able to help remove plaque and tartar while giving you a fresh feeling. However, if you want to address any issues, such as tooth sensitivity or whitening, you can do your research about the best products or talk to your dentist at your next visit.
Believe it or not, you can over-brush your teeth. If you use too much force while brushing or brushing your teeth for too long, it can lead to abrasion, sensitivity, and even gum recession. Additionally, over-brushing or brushing too hard may result in microscopic tears in your gums that can allow bacteria from your teeth into your bloodstream and lead to health complications.
While you might think your current toothbrush looks like it’s in good condition, it’s recommended to replace your toothbrush every three or four months or when it starts to show signs of wear. If you notice bristles are breaking off or slanted, it’s time for a new toothbrush. You can also change your toothbrush after illness to avoid reinfection or clean it with hydrogen peroxide to kill germs. Changing your toothbrush ensures its effectiveness and can prevent you from putting bacteria back into your mouth.
Flossing removes plaque, bacteria, and food that are hiding between your teeth. You may choose to floss before or after brushing, but it will have the same effect either way. If you’re using regular floss, you only need around two feet from the dispenser. You should wrap the ends of the floss around your fingers and guide the floss between your teeth.
If you’re using a floss pick, you don’t have to wrap any floss around your fingers. However, the size of the pick may make it difficult for you to reach the back of your teeth. If you can’t wrap the floss around your back teeth, you may need to start using regular floss to ensure you’re able to remove plaque, tartar, and food from every single tooth.
Be careful not to push the floss too deeply into the gums. However, you should hold the floss tightly around your teeth.
Don’t Use Picks
Toothpicks are meant to remove food from between your teeth, but floss is much more effective and safer. Toothpicks can damage or even puncture your gums and lead to an uncomfortable infection.
Schedule Dental Cleanings
Dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar you can’t at home. While your toothbrush can do a lot for your dental health, it can’t remove tartar. However, a dentist has the right tools and technique to get rid of tartar which leads to tooth decay. You can help your dentist out and prevent tartar from forming in the first place by brushing your teeth twice a day. Plaque buildup eventually leads to tartar, so removing plaque daily can help prevent complications.
Learn Other Ways to Care for Teeth
Besides brushing and flossing, there are other ways to take care of your oral health, including considering what you eat. Eating a balanced diet and limiting sugar-filled food and snacks can help protect your teeth from decay. So if you haven’t already started limiting your soda intake, now may be the time to do so. Additionally, eating a balanced diet can provide you with the calcium that your teeth need to stay strong. Additionally, essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium can help to strengthen your teeth. A lack of nutrients can lead to poor health and one of the byproducts of this can lead to tooth decay.
Brushing and flossing twice a day is something you were taught as a child. Unfortunately, many people don’t brush or flush twice daily, and some don’t brush their teeth properly. If at any point you’re unsure how to properly care for your teeth at home, schedule an appointment with your dentist, who can show you the proper techniques for brushing and flossing while recommending their favorite products.
Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she shares knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, or financial tips. During her free time she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.