Professional dental cleanings are important for maintaining great oral health. However, it is vital that you continue good dental hygiene at home as well. Dr. Abraham Stein and Dr. Zachary Weiss, your Skokie, IL, dentists, recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice per day and floss daily. This helps prevent tooth decay, periodontal disease, and other oral health issues.
Proper Brushing Technique
Brushing your teeth can be one of those habits you don’t give much thought to: grab your toothbrush, apply some toothpaste, then brush, rinse, done. But the way you brush can drastically affect how much plaque you are removing.
Tips for optimal brushing:
- Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush. They are gentler on your teeth and gums.
- Replace your toothbrush about once every four months, or three times a year. Replace sooner if the bristles become frayed or flattened.
- Use gentle, short strokes and tilt your brush slightly upwards towards your gum line. This helps target plaque buildup near the gums.
- Think about the order in which you brush your teeth: it’s best to brush the top teeth before brushing the bottom teeth. Finish up by cleaning the chewing surfaces of every tooth and then the top of your tongue.
- Brush for the full, recommended time of two minutes. Time yourself until it becomes routine.
There are additional ways to help keep teeth strong and healthy. While brushing techniques are important, healthy lifestyle choices and other dental care products can dramatically improve your oral health.
Other tips for keeping your mouth clean and healthy:
- Toothpastes and mouth rinses with fluoride are available over-the-counter. It’s a good idea to incorporate a fluoridated product into your hygiene routine. Your tooth enamel is composed of minerals. Oral bacteria can break down the minerals in your tooth enamel and weaken the hard outer tooth layers. Fluoride helps to add back important lost minerals to the tooth and strengthen enamel susceptible to tooth decay. Your teeth can absorb fluoride from direct contact, such as with a toothpaste or mouthwash.
- Eating a balanced diet and limiting sugary snacks can also contribute to good oral health. Sugar and other carbohydrates are broken down into simple starches by saliva. These starches are fuel for oral bacteria, and can contribute to a corrosive build-up of plaque on your teeth and gums. After eating and drinking, always drink a glass of water to remove any leftover food particles or starches from the mouth, and limit the effects of starches on your teeth. If something you eat or drink contains acids, such as sodas or candies, wait 30 minutes before brushing. This will allow your saliva time to neutralize the acids and protect your teeth.
- Flossing may add a couple minutes to your daily hygiene routine, but it shouldn’t be skipped. To floss correctly, use at least 18 inches of floss. Or, floss picks or interdental brushes can be easier for some patients to use. Be sure to go between and around each tooth when flossing, but be gentle; excessive force could result in bruised or tender gums.
Contact Us to Schedule Your Next Cleaning
Healthy dental hygiene habits can help keep your teeth strong and beautiful. If you have any questions about your current dental hygiene routine, or need to schedule your next bi-annual cleaning and exam, please contact us.