Brushing and flossing our teeth — it’s something we’ve done for so long that we don’t even think about it. Unfortunately, most people fret more about the timing of their car’s oil changes than they do about the quality of the home hygiene they provide for their chompers.
That’s a pity because a car’s just a car. You can get another one when this one drives off into the sunset. But you can’t get another set of natural teeth. If you take good care of them, they’ll be with you until the end, happily munching away. But neglect them at your own peril, as a future of gum disease, tooth extractions, and other dental issues could be in the cards.
Keeping your teeth healthy begins at home. And since we love healthy teeth at Prosthodontics of New York, here’s a primer on just what you should be doing for your home oral hygiene (and teaching your kids, as well).
What is the proper way of brushing my teeth?
You need to brush your teeth twice daily, but that’s not usually the problem. The problem is quality of brushing. Use a soft-bristled brush (bristles that are too stiff can damage your tooth enamel and make your gums recede) and use gentle pressure. You should brush for around two minutes, 30 seconds per quarter of your mouth. Here’s how to brush teeth properly:
- Position your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Using small, circular strokes, gently brush the teeth while making sure that the bristles are also touching the gums. Use overlapping circles to cover all the tooth surfaces.
- When brushing, make sure the inner, outer, and biting surfaces of the teeth are included.
- Using the tip of the brush, clean the inner portion of your front teeth.
- It is important to brush the tongue as well to remove existing bacteria and to freshen up your breath. Hit the pockets on the sides of your tongue, too. And don’t miss the roof of your mouth.
Electric toothbrushes are great. In fact, the American Dental Association recently gave their vaunted seal of approval to a bunch of Oral B Electric Toothbrushes. But you don’t have to use an electric toothbrush as long as you brush diligently. Use a toothpaste with fluoride. Whitening toothpaste with fluoride do whiten teeth somewhat, although nothing like a professional whitening.
What is the correct way of flossing my teeth?
You should floss between your teeth once daily. Yeah, that means you, the once monthly flosser! Flossing has two purposes. It removes food debris and plaque from between the teeth, and it stimulates the gums. You may have heard about some study a couple years ago that questioned the worth of flossing, but those results are up for debate. Plus, what’s the worst thing that can happen by flossing? Keeping your teeth and gums healthier! Follow these steps to properly floss your teeth:
- Use a piece around 18 inches long. Wrap the thread around your middle fingers and leave 2 inches of thread in between your fingers.
- Use your thumbs and forefingers to gently insert the floss in between each tooth and clean the area following a sawing motion.
- Hold the floss in a “C” shape on each tooth as well as under the gumline. Move the thread up and down to clean every side of the tooth.
If you want more convenience, you can purchase floss holders. Flavored floss? If you like cinnamon and cinnamon-flavored floss will make you floss regularly, then we say “Go for it!”
Schedule a Consultation
Now you are primed with all you need to know to take care of your awesome teeth. Of course, part of every home hygiene regimen is also keeping your twice-yearly dental exams and professional cleanings with the team here at Prosthodontics of New York. Is it time for your next appointment? Call us at (212) 758-9690 to make your appointment.