07 Mar Oral Hygiene Tips: Brush up on the Basics
We all learned about oral hygiene as children, but for many of us, the learning stopped there. Your smile and your overall health depend on simple daily habits, such as brushing and flossing. But are you using the right techniques? At Hicks Dental Group in Prescott, we want to review some basic oral hygiene tips to protect your oral health.
Tips for Crushing Brushing
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Don’t rush. Brush your teeth for two minutes to ensure they are thoroughly clean. Remember to brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, and don’t forget your tongue!
- Wait 30 minutes after eating or drinking to brush. This is especially important if you had something acidic.
- Brush or scrape your tongue!. Your tongue harbors bacteria, which can lead to tooth decay and bad breath.
- Use the proper tools. Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes can reduce plaque and gingivitis more than manual brushes. They are also helpful if you have arthritis. Check out this post on the best kinds of toothbrushes to use.
- Use proper technique. Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle, with the bristles aimed toward your gum line. Gently move the brush back and forth with short, circular motions. Brushing too aggressively can damage the gums.
- Keep your toothbrush clean. Always rinse your toothbrush with water after brushing. When storing your toothbrush, make sure it is upright and allow it to air-dry. Putting a cover over your toothbrush actually fosters the growth of bacteria and mold. Keep it separate from other toothbrushes to prevent cross-contamination.
- Replace your worn toothbrush. You should buy a new toothbrush or a replacement head for your electric toothbrush at least every three months—or sooner if necessary.
Floss like a Boss
- Step one. Break off a piece of floss about 18 inches long. Wind the floss around each middle finger several times, leaving a few inches in the middle between the fingers.
- Step two. Hold the floss between your thumbs and forefingers, pulling it tight.
- Step three. Carefully guide the floss between two teeth. Do not force it into the gum. If the space between the teeth is tight, try gently moving the floss back and forth until it reaches the gumline. If the space is still too tight, please talk to our dental office.
- Step four. Once the floss has reached the gum line, curve the floss around the tooth, gently sliding it into the space between the gum and the tooth. Make sure to get the floss under the gum line, as this is where most inflammation and gum disease begins to form.
- Step five. Gently slide the floss along each side of the tooth, clearing any food particles. Be careful not to cut into the gums while sliding the floss up and down.
- Remember to floss all of the teeth. Don’t forget the back ones! Starting with the same tooth each time you floss can help you make sure you don’t miss any teeth in the process.
- The sequence of brushing and flossing doesn’t matter, as long as you do both thoroughly.
- Floss at least once a day—it doesn’t matter if you floss in the morning or at night, but flossing at the same time each day can help you remember to do it daily.
- Check out these pictures or this video from the ADA for visual aids on proper flossing technique.
Come Visit Us!
In addition to these daily oral hygiene tips, it is important to keep up with your twice-yearly cleanings and exams. This will go a long way in helping your teeth and gums stay healthy, strong, and beautiful throughout your life. At Hicks Dental Group, our friendly, dedicated, and compassionate team is committed to working with you and your family to create a positive experience every time you visit our practice. Contact us today with any questions or concerns you may have about your oral health!