What is usually running through your mind as you are brushing your teeth? You’re probably making your grocery list for the next day, trying to remember a song you heard, or thinking about work. October is actually National Dental Hygiene Month, and in honor of that, your dentist in Marietta from Elite Dentistry would like you to take a moment and think about your everyday dental hygiene. Here are some key tips to keeping your teeth healthy at home from Drs. Ruth Clemans and Caitlin Merke.
The Basics of Brushing
It probably feels like you’ve always known how to brush your teeth. Much like walking and talking, you likely don’t remember the effort it took to get you to learn. A quick chat with your parents will clearly reveal it was an involved process. Fast forward a few decades and you probably don’t even think about it as you’re doing it. You put the toothpaste on the brush and before you know it, you’re in bed. Most adults are like this, and surprisingly, most adults are brushing their teeth wrong day after day. Brushing is one of the best things you can do to help keep your teeth healthy. It serves to break up and clean away the buildup of plaque and bacteria that occurs because of the food we eat. A few basics of brushing that most people miss are:
- You only need to brush twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. Too much brushing can be just as damaging to your teeth as too little, as it can wear down your tooth enamel.
- Brush for 2 minutes each time, Most people don’t keep track of time when brushing, and therefore don’t do it long enough. Try setting a timer on your phone.
- Make sure to brush every surface of your teeth. People often miss large areas while they are mindlessly brushing. Be sure to brush the top, back, and front of each tooth. Also don’t forget to brush along the gum line to prevent gum disease.
- Try to brush in a gentle circling motion. It breaks up the plaque better than simply scrubbing back and forth.
Brushing while keeping these tips in mind will help stop most dental issues before they start. Of course, brushing alone doesn’t quite do the trick.
Yes, you should floss every time you brush. It doesn’t matter which order you do them in, just as long as you always do both. Flossing is able to reach surfaces of your teeth that brushing can’t, namely the spaces between teeth. Some things to consider when flossing are:
- Use 12-18 inches of floss each time
- Wrap the ends around the pointer fingers on each hand to create a bit of tension
- Don’t use too much force, it shouldn’t require a lot of effort to move the floss between your teeth
- Be sure to floss between every single tooth, and even behind the back teeth.
If you brush without flossing, you are leaving about 40% of your teeth’s surfaces uncleaned, which leaves you vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing usually takes less than a minute, but can save you so much time in the dentist’s chair.
Don’t Forget About Us!
As important as your home routine is, you still need to come see us at Elite Dentistry for a dental cleaning in Marietta at least twice a year. You simply can’t reach every single surface on your teeth with brushing and flossing. That is where a professional cleaning from one of our team can help. It also gives us a chance to catch small dental issues before they become bigger ones. Prevention and early detection are the best tools we have in dentistry. Even though October is typically associated with Halloween and candy, just keep these simple tips in mind and you can smile confidently all the way through the holidays. Please call us if you want to know more.