How to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy
The American Dental Association advises that you brush your teeth twice every day, but most people know this already. What else do dentists recommend for taking care of your teeth and gums?
Given the proper care, your teeth and gums can stay strong and healthy throughout your entire life. The better your oral health and dental care, the less you’re at risk of experiencing tooth decay or gum disease.
To learn more about methods of personal oral care that family dentists recommend, keep reading.
Brushing Your Teeth and Gums
You should brush your teeth and gums a minimum of two times per day. Ideally, you should brush your teeth 30 minutes to one hour after each meal.
Brushing your teeth helps remove plaque, which is a film made up of bacteria that cling to your teeth. When these bacteria come into contact with food while you’re eating, they produce acids that create cavities in your teeth.
To brush your teeth the way general dentists recommend, following these steps:
- Put a pea-sized drop of fluoride toothpaste onto the head of a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Place your toothbrush against your teeth, angled at 45 degrees to your gum line.
- Move the brush across your teeth in a small circular motion. If you’re using an electric toothbrush, just hold it at the right angle and let it do the work for you.
- Continue this motion for one tooth at a time, keeping the tips of the bristles against your gum line. Don’t press hard — only the tips of the bristles actually clean your teeth, so they shouldn’t be pushed up against your teeth so they lie flat. Allow the bristles to reach into the spaces between your teeth as you move the brush from tooth to tooth.
- Brush across the top chewing surfaces of your back teeth, making sure the bristles get into all the crevices and grooves.
- Using the same circular motion as before, brush the backsides of your upper and lower teeth (the sides that face your tongue). For the inside of your bottom-front teeth, angle the toothbrush head in an up-and-down position, pointing towards the bottom-inside of your mouth. For the inside of your top-front teeth, angle the toothbrush in the opposite manner, pointing up towards the roof of your mouth.
- When you’re all finished with your teeth, gently brush your tongue, brushing from the back forward, without scrubbing it. This helps remove lingering bacteria to freshen your breath.
- The entire process should take you between two and three minutes. Afterwards, rinse out your mouth using an antibacterial mouthwash, which can help reduce plaque-causing bacteria. You should swish it around your mouth for 30 to 60 seconds before spitting it out.
It’s also recommended that you replace your toothbrush at least once every three or four months.
Flossing Your Teeth
Dental floss is another essential part of good oral hygiene. Flossing eliminates plaque and food particles that get caught between your teeth, in places where your toothbrush can’t reach. Plaque that stays between teeth can harden and turn into tartar, which can only be removed by dentists or hygienists.
You should floss once every day. To do it properly, use the following instructions:
- Pull a strip of dental floss of about 18 inches from its container, cutting it on the included blade.
- Wrap the floss around your middle fingers on each hand a couple of times, leaving an open space in between wide enough for you to floss your teeth.
- Begin with your top teeth. Put the floss in your mouth and push it between your teeth using your index fingers. Avoid pushing too hard so you don’t hurt your gums.
- Move the floss up and down against each tooth, and up around the gum line. You should use the floss in such a way that it forms the shape of a “C” around each tooth while you’re doing it.
- Floss behind each tooth, including your back teeth.
- As you use up the strip of floss, move up and down the strip to use it where it’s still clean, winding it off and on your fingers.
That’s how you care for your oral health. By brushing, flossing, and using mouth wash every day, you’ll ensure that your dental work is always a routine cleaning and not for preventable tooth decay.