October is National Dental Hygiene Month and a great reminder that proper dental hygiene techniques are imperative for optimum oral health. Your smile is one of your greatest assets – take care of it! Use the below steps as your guide to routine care.
- Brush your teeth twice a day – Don’t rush through this process. The ideal brushing time is 2 minutes (setting a timer will help get you in the habit of hitting this mark). Gently brush with short back and forth motions, focusing on the area where your tooth meets your gum. Be sure to cover every part of your tooth that you can get to (the outside, inside and the chewing surfaces of your teeth) as well as your tongue. If you just ate a meal and are eager to clean your teeth, wait! Acids from food and drinks can erode your enamel. Waiting 15 to 20 minutes allows the saliva in your mouth to remove some of this abrasive acid.
- Choose the right toothbrush – Whether you choose an electric toothbrush or a manual option, make sure the brush can cover the surfaces that need to be brushed. Most importantly, find a brush with soft bristles. The bristles remove the bacteria and loosen plaque from your teeth and gums that can cause decay. Though some may believe hard bristles will more thoroughly clean, they can actually wear down the structure of your teeth. Store your toothbrush in the open air to keep mold away. Whenever you find that bristles are bent or discolored – it’s time to purchase a new toothbrush. Ideally you should be changing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.
- Floss once a day – Your toothbrush can only reach a portion of the surfaces within your mouth. Flossing allows you to clean the tight spaces between your teeth and your gum line. Floss gently, one tooth at a time unwinding fresh floss as you progress. If you find it difficult to use traditional floss, try a dental pick, pre-threaded flossers or a water flosser.
If you find you have any of the below symptoms, be sure to contact our office as these could suggest oral health issues. Early detection will allow us to get you back on track to a healthy mouth.
- Red, tender or swollen gums
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
- Gums that begin pulling away from your teeth
- Sensitivity to hot or cold
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent bad breath
- Loose permanent teeth
Follow the above tips to ensure a healthy, beautiful smile and let one of our team members know if you have any questions regarding your at-home care.