Want to liven up that 4th of July barbecue? As you’re grilling the tri-tip and the flank steak, talk with your guests about their flossing and brushing habits at home.
Talk about stimulating! And maybe that’s the problem. We’ve all brushed and flossed (at least we say we do) since we were tykes. The thrill is definitely gone. That could be why many of us pay more attention to the oil change mileage on our cars than to the hygiene of our teeth.
And we’re not happy about that at Implant Dentistry of Florida. Sure, we love placing dental implants and otherwise caring for the teeth of our patients. But what we really love to see when you come in for your twice-yearly exams and cleanings are sparkling teeth, bright pink gums, and a minimum amount of tartar.
The irony about placing more importance on arbitrarily set oil change mileage deadlines than on your teeth is that no matter how diligent you are with oil changes, your car will die one day and you’ll have to buy another. But your teeth…take care of them and they’ll keep on chomping away for the rest of your life. Forget about them and treat their hygiene indifferently at your own risk. Your future can be filled with gum disease, tooth extractions, and other dental health nightmares.
Am I Brushing Correctly?
Most people brush their teeth twice daily. You can do it three times, but don’t get carried away. Overbrushing can make your gums recede. Use a soft-bristled brush (bristles that are too stiff can damage your tooth enamel and make your gums recede, as well) and use gentle pressure. You should brush for around two minutes — 30 seconds per quarter of your mouth. Here’s how to brush teeth properly:
- Position your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Using small, circular strokes, gently brush the teeth while making sure that the bristles are also touching the gums. Use overlapping circles to cover all the tooth surfaces.
- When brushing, make sure the inner, outer, and biting surfaces of the teeth are included.
- Using the tip of the brush, clean the inner portion of your front teeth.
- It is important to brush the tongue as well to remove existing bacteria and to freshen up your breath. Hit the pockets on the sides of your tongue, too. And don’t miss the roof of your mouth.
If you’re a lackadaisical brusher, switching to an electric toothbrush could be a good option. But it’s not necessary if you’re diligent. Use a toothpaste with fluoride. Whitening toothpaste with fluoride can whiten teeth somewhat, although nothing like a professional whitening.
What Is the Correct Way of Flossing My Teeth?
You should floss between your teeth once daily. Flossing has two purposes. It removes food debris and plaque from between the teeth, and it stimulates the gums. You may have heard about some study last year that questioned the worth of flossing, but those results are up for debate. Plus, what’s the worst thing that can happen by flossing? Keeping your teeth and gums healthier! Follow these steps to properly floss your teeth:
- Use a piece around 18 inches long. Wrap the thread around your middle fingers and leave 2 inches of thread in between your fingers.
- Use your thumbs and forefingers to gently insert the floss in between each tooth and clean the area following a sawing motion.
- Hold the floss in a “C” shape on each tooth as well as under the gumline. Move the thread up and down to clean every side of the tooth.
If you want more convenience, you can purchase floss holders. Flavored floss? If you like cinnamon and cinnamon-flavored floss will make you floss regularly, then we say “Go for it!”