Preventive hygiene plays an important role in helping to prevent disease, keep your mouth clean and fresh and maintain your oral and overall health. While you should make sure to book regular dental cleanings and exams with your dentist, you may wonder how often you should really be brushing, flossing and practicing your oral healthcare routine at home.
During every appointment, your dentist will remind you that brushing and flossing are essential to preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Checking these two tasks off your to-do list every day will also help to eliminate bacteria that lead to plaque and tooth decay, and later progress to gum disease.
Today, our dentist will explain how often you should brush and offer advice on proper techniques.
Tested, Tried & True Brushing & Flossing Techniques
Performing these techniques consistently will help you maintain excellent oral health.
Clean each tooth surface in your mouth, including the tongue side, cheek-side and chewing surface with your brush at a 45-degree angle. Brush in a sweeping motion, using a downward sweeping motion for upper teeth and an upward motion for lower teeth. Brush back and forth on chewing surfaces only.
Ideally, after each meal we recommend our patients brush for two minutes each time (no longer than four minutes). Wait at least 30 minutes to brush after eating. At minimum, brush twice a day, and always before bed. You might want to set a timer to make sure you brush for long enough.
At least once daily, floss between your teeth — preferably, this should be the last hygiene task you do before going to bed. When you floss, you'll dislodge debris and buildup from between the teeth in places your toothbrush does not reach.
Insert the string of floss between two teeth and run it up and down the side of each, pulling it into a "c" shape in both directions. Do this slowly and thoroughly and make sure to floss between every two teeth.
Visiting your dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and exam is a task critical to maintaining your oral health. Your dentist has the knowledge and tools needed to remove plaque and tartar buildup that you won't be able to remove yourself with brushing and flossing.
During these regular visits, your dentist will look for dental issues in their early stages and treat them before they develop into larger issues.
Oral health problems including gum disease, cavities and cysts, abnormalities and tumors are often not noticed by the untrained eye (or even a patient's own eye) in their early stages. This is why it's important to have your mouth regularly examined by a dental professional.