As children it was a common reminder: “Brush your teeth every morning and before you go to bed. And don’t forget to floss!” As we grew up, the mantra stayed with us and the habit of brushing and flossing became just that — a habit. But how do we know that our oral cleaning routines are the best ones for maintaining a healthy mouth?
If you are looking to improve and preserve your smile, read on for simple, effective brushing and flossing tips from Northfield Dental Group.
Take It Easy on Your Teeth
While you may think that some “elbow grease” will better remove plaque and polish your pearly whites, brushing too hard can actually damage teeth and gums. Gums are sensitive and tooth enamel is as thin as an eggshell. Scratches on your teeth and gum irritation can result from brushing too hard. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and clean your teeth with gentle strokes. Plaque is easy to remove with daily oral care, so rest assured a soft touch will hold a healthier future for your smile.
Don’t Rush the Brush
We know. You have a million things to do and so much that needs your attention. But is your busy day taking time away from proper brushing? Most Americans brush their teeth for less than a minute. That’s far less time than the recommended two minutes needed to brush your teeth effectively. Take the time to gently brush your gumline, all chewing surfaces, the back and front of all teeth, and around any fillings or other dental work. Gently brush your tongue, too. Use a stopwatch if needed to get in the full two minutes of brushing. Your smile will thank you for it!
Flossing every day is important for removing food particles and plaque in places your toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing also benefits your gums and keeps diseases such as gingivitis at bay. For an all-star smile, make sure you have plenty of floss (about 18” is recommended). Use a zig-zag motion to slide floss between each tooth. Gently slide the floss up and down against the tooth’s surface and under the gumline. Floss each tooth thoroughly. For easier cleaning and to better catch debris, waxed floss is recommended.
Take a good look at your toothbrush. If you notice fraying bristles or discoloration, it’s time for a toothbrush turn-over. The American Dental Association recommends changing your toothbrush every three to four months. Use a new toothbrush after getting over a cold, too. Over time, your toothbrush harbors bacteria and germs, and becomes less effective at cleaning plaque. Remember to swap out your toothbrush every few months for a happier, healthier mouth.
Northfield Dental Group Is Here for You
To learn more about proper brushing and flossing and maintaining a healthy mouth for life, the Northfield Dental Group team invites you to visit us. Please call or email us today to schedule your appointment at our practice.