Basic oral care is mostly about brushing and flossing on a regular basis, but doing them properly is more important. You’ll never be able to fully rid your mouth of bacteria but practicing good oral habits will reinforce your natural defenses, helping you keep mouth bacteria at bay to prevent them from damaging your teeth and gums.
To ensure that you’re doing your brushing and flossing right, here are some tips you should keep in mind:
● Don’t rush – Spending too little time on brushing will make you miss some spots. According to experts, brushing your teeth for two minutes will help ensure you give your mouth a thorough clean.
● Use the right toothbrush – Use a toothbrush that will let you reach all the parts of your mouth, especially your teeth at the back. If you’re having wrist trouble, consider using an electric toothbrush instead to help lessen the strain on your hand.
● Replace toothbrushes regularly – Like any other tool, toothbrushes work their best when they themselves are in proper condition. Replace your toothbrush every three or four months or as soon as bristles start getting frayed.
● Brush gently – Brushing too hard can scratch tooth enamel and hurt your gums, making you more vulnerable to mouth problems. Take note that ideal brushing pressure is at 150 grams, or about the weight of an orange.
● Don’t skimp – Flossing usually takes about 18 inches of dental floss. Skimping by reusing the same part of the floss is could actually deposit dirt and bacteria back from the part you flossed before.
● Don’t snap – Use a rubbing motion to work the floss between your teeth. Once it reaches the gums, curve it against one tooth instead of pressing it downwards to avoid damaging your gums.
● Use dental cleaning aids – If regular floss is too difficult to use, try dental picks, pre-threaded flossers or silicone plaque removers.
Mouth rinses are great for freshening your breath, with anti-bacterial versions helping reduce bacteria and plaque. However, use them as a complement, not a replacement, for proper brushing and flossing.
You know developing good oral habits is good for you, but why exactly? Find out in Part 2 how your oral health affects the rest of your body.