Brush Up On Your Dental Care Habits
Are you just going through the motions when it comes to your dental hygiene habits? After doing the same activity day after day, year after year, we can become complacent and careless. While you’ve been brushing and flossing since you were a small child, now might be the perfect time for a refresher course when it comes to taking care of your teeth.
As we age, caring for our teeth and gums can help prevent problems like tooth decay, tooth loss, and gum disease. You want to be able to enjoy your natural teeth as long as possible. Eating the foods you want, maintaining a beautiful smile and keeping tooth pain at bay are just some of the reasons you should double up on your dental care efforts.
The Right Tool
Let’s start with the #1 tool you have to ward off dental problems — your toothbrush. Make sure to get a new toothbrush every 4–6 months. A toothbrush with frayed bristles won’t remove food debris and brush away plaque from your teeth as well as a fresh one. What’s more, a frayed toothbrush can be a breeding ground for bacteria that gets passed on to your mouth.
Also, make sure you are using the right size of toothbrush. A toothbrush with a small head is easier to maneuver in your mouth and can reach the most surfaces of each of your teeth. Also, use a brush with soft bristles. Hard bristles can be too rough on your teeth and gums, damaging your tooth enamel and gums.
Take Your Time
As a child, you were probably told that you should brush your teeth for about 2 minutes. You might have even used a familiar song to help you be aware of the time. It’s common as adults to think that once we’ve brushed all of our teeth, the job is done. The reason we recommend brushing for a full 2 minutes, however, is that it reduces the amount of plaque on your teeth more than just a quick brushing. Plaque leads to tooth decay and gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. Next time you brush, remember to take your time. Thanks to modern technology, there are now electric toothbrushes with built in timers. You may not have to go that far, but the old-fashioned way of singing a song will do the trick.
Don’t Forget Your Gums
When brushing your teeth, make sure to brush carefully along your gum line, as well. Plaque can build up on the teeth and the bacteria can harm the soft tissue of your gums. Using a flexible, soft-bristled brush can help reach the tooth area right under your gum. Don’t brush too hard though, or you might cause your gums to bleed. Also, flossing will help loosen food debris and plaque that your toothbrush can’t reach.
Don’t Miss This Part
Did you know that many people often forget to brush the back of their teeth? They tend to focus only on the part you can see. The back of the teeth, however, will start to build up plaque if they are ignored.
While we recommend brushing morning and night, flossing is recommended just once a day. But because it’s just once a day doesn’t mean it’s not as important as brushing. Floss can reach places your toothbrush can’t, like in between your teeth. It helps remove plaque and food debris that your toothbrush misses, as well. It’s a critical tool for keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
To properly floss your teeth, gently curve the floss around the tooth, making sure you go under the gum line and slide it gently up and down between teeth. Make sure to be gentle around the gum line to avoid harming the delicate tissue and causing pain or bleeding. Using a waxed floss will help it slide better between teeth and make it a more comfortable experience.
Mouthwash isn’t an alternative to brushing and flossing, but it can be used alongside these two activities to help keep your mouth healthy. It helps reduce acid in the mouth, which can wear down the enamel of your teeth. It can also reach places your toothbrush can’t and it remineralizes your teeth.
Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Teeth
What you eat is just as important to your oral health as it is to your overall health. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and reducing your intake of sugary snacks helps avoid tooth decay and enamel erosion. What’s more, tobacco use has been linked to dental issues such as gum disease and causes discoloration. Treating your body well is just another way to ensure long-lasting, healthy teeth and gums.
We are happy to help patients in Reston, VA and the surrounding area with their dental care needs. Please call our office to schedule an appointment at 571-200-1616. Your dental health is our passion!