Practicing daily oral hygiene at home is one of the best ways to protect against tooth decay and gum disease.
It not only helps prevent cavities and more serious dental conditions – such as periodontal disease – from developing, it can also help fight against bad breath odor.
The following are recommended techniques for proper oral hygiene.
Our Westerville dentists recommend that patients brush their teeth and gums at least twice every day and after every meal with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Brushing should last approximately two minutes to ensure you are removing as much dental plaque as possible.
When brushing, hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums, and brush in a gentle back-and-forth motion, making sure to reach every surface of each tooth. You should also brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
In addition to brushing, dental floss should be used to clean between teeth at least once every day and after meals (if practical) to make sure you clean areas a toothbrush just can't reach.
When flossing, hold the floss securely with each hand, easing the string between your teeth. Gently rub the floss up and down, curving it around each tooth to cover as much of the surface as possible. Slide the floss under your gum line to remove plaque from beneath the gums. A fresh section of floss should be used for each tooth.
An antimicrobial mouth rinse is also recommended as part of a daily oral hygiene routine to remove bacteria that can lead to gingivitis (an early stage of periodontal disease) and help prevent tooth decay. Mouth rinses are NOT a substitute for good daily brushing and flossing habits.
The foods we eat have a profound impact on our teeth, since sugars are a high contributor to tooth decay. Sugar can't be avoided; it is in most foods we eat. But you can control the amount of sugar you consume by limiting between-meal snacks, carefully reading food labels and choosing foods and beverages that are low in added sugars. Habits such as "pop - swishing" with carbonated soft drinks, habitual gum chewing, and prolonged use of mints and or throat lozenges can create a myriad of dental problems. Talk to your dentist about healthy alternatives.
Regular Dental Exams
Proper oral hygiene does not take the place of regular dental examinations and cleaning. A professional dental cleaning removes plaque and tartar build-up that a tootbrush and floss can't remove on their own. It is recommended that dental exam / oral cancer screening be scheduled for every patient twice a year.
To learn more about our Westerville dentist, Brian Stickel DDS, any of our Westerville preventative dental services or to make an appointment, please contact our office or call us directly at 614.882.1135.