You have been told since you were a little kid – brush your teeth twice daily – and while you’re at it, don’t forget to floss. Perhaps by now you’ve made that process automatic, but family dental services providers have some tips for effective teeth brushing at any age.
But first, why are proper brushing and general oral hygiene so important, aside from having a fresh, clean smelling mouth for your sweetheart? Here are a few more motivators:
- Avoid gingivitis, an inflammatory condition affecting the gums, which can cause tooth loss and infection. Left untreated, gum infections can even lead to heart disease.
- Eliminate plaque, which is a deposit of bacteria on the surface of your teeth.
- Prevent cavities.
Perhaps the most important two minutes of your day are those spent brushing your teeth. That’s right – correct brushing takes two minutes, twice a day. Kids are often advised to sing Happy Birthday twice or to use musical electric toothbrushes. Singing your favorite rock anthem or setting a timer can work for your adult self. Some electric toothbrushes have built-in timers.
So, place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and lightly (no heavy scrubbing necessary – the truth is, excessive pressure can hurt your gum area) brush your front and back teeth, in front and behind, using special care at the hard to reach spots. If you have any crowns or bridges, you may need to adjust your brushing to take good care of them.
A great final grooming habit is to brush your tongue. This certainly freshens your mouth, but also helps to remove additional bacteria and food particles. And in the words of many a late night infomercial – “But wait, there’s more!”
The more is flossing your teeth to get what the toothbrush misses. Tear off about 18 inches of this special tape and loop about a three-inch portion around both your index fingers. Now, again, carefully, insert it in between each tooth and work your way through your entire mouth. Ensure both sides of all the teeth are flossed.
Your toothbrush should be somewhat soft and have a moderately small head to help you reach all the nooks and crannies of your mouth. A power toothbrush often makes it easier to get the job done right, especially for individuals with dexterity issues or people who are in the habit of brushing their teeth too hard.
As for toothpaste, there is a plethora of choices, including special formulas for whitening, sensitive teeth, or treatment for early gingivitis. Your choice is best determined by a conversation with your dentist or dental hygienist.
Today’s dental care ads are studded with buzzwords like cosmetic dentistry, sedation dentistry and sleep dentistry, and it’s good to know these services are available, perhaps from your family dentist. Here’s another – do-it-yourself dentistry. The only tools you need are your trusty toothbrush and your fancy floss.
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