You likely already know about the importance of brushing your teeth twice a day. Perhaps you even floss regularly! It’s true that daily brushing and flossing are critical to fighting tooth decay and gum disease. However, there is a handful of essential, cavity-fighting steps that many people aren’t familiar with. Keep reading to discover the 4 oral hygiene best practices that you should never skip.
Practice Good Brushing Technique
You may already diligently brush your teeth twice a day, but are you using the right technique? Experts say that you should hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and gently brush in a short, circular motion. Be sure to brush the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces of your teeth. In addition, avoid pressing too hard when brushing, as this can hurt your gums.
Keep Your Brush Clean
Your toothbrush helps clean your mouth, but you should also clean your toothbrush! Always rinse your toothbrush with water after brushing. Store it in an upright position separate from other toothbrushes in the same holder to prevent cross-contamination. Avoid covering the toothbrush head or storing your toothbrush in a dark, closed container. Doing so can encourage the growth of bacteria, mold, and yeast. Instead, let your toothbrush air-dry between each use.
Replace Old Toothbrushes
Just like you would replace an old pair of shoes with holes, you should also replace your toothbrush before it loses its cleaning ability. When toothbrush bristles become frayed or worn, they cannot clean between your teeth and along the gum line effectively. That is why the American Dental Association recommends replacing toothbrushes every three or four months.
Clean Your Tongue
Regularly cleaning your tongue is an important part of maintaining a healthy, fresh mouth. Bacteria, dead skin cells, and tiny food particles can collect and become trapped in the grooves of the tiny bumps (called papillae) on your tongue. Trapped bacteria can cause bad breath, discoloration of the tongue, and increase the risk of plaque and tartar buildup on teeth.
There are two techniques to properly clean your tongue:
- Brushing – Gently scrub your tongue daily from back to top with a moistened toothbrush.
- Scraping – Stick out your tongue and slide a tongue scraper from the back to the tip while applying even pressure.
Be sure to thoroughly clean and dry your tongue scraper and/or brush after cleaning your tongue.
How Often Should You See the Dentist?
While at-home dental care is very important, you still need to visit your dentist in Copperas Cove every six months for a routine checkup and cleaning. Only a dental professional with special tools can remove hardened tartar from your teeth. In addition, oral exams from a dentist are important for catching signs of trouble early on, like gum disease or even oral cancer.
By following the oral hygiene best practices above and visiting your dentist twice a year, your smile will be in tip-top shape all year round!
About the Author
Dr. Daniel Caraveo, a proud graduate of the Baylor College of Dentistry, is dedicated to improving the oral health of his patients in Copperas Cove. He regularly performs gum disease therapy, oral cancer screenings, preventive checkups and cleanings, and more at Benchmark Family Dentist. To learn more about best practices to maintain a healthy smile, visit the Benchmark Family Dentist website or call 254-547-4866.