Did you know that with the right oral care routine at home, you can set up your smile for success for years to come?
it’s the truth!
Not only do good oral habits help protect you from gum disease and tooth decay, but a twice-daily brushing and flossing schedule can actually save you some serious dough! One study by Delta Dental reports that by practicing good oral hygiene, You can save $2,187 for every cavity prevented in your life.
But what exactly does an at-home oral care routine look like? Let’s break it down.
Steps for a proper oral care routine at home
We all know we’re supposed to – we may avoid eye contact with the dentist when he asks how often we floss because chances are, we’re not doing it enough. According to an analysis of American dental habits in 2016, approximately 32% of the American population does not floss.
But flossing is critical in preventing gum disease and periodontitis (the most advanced stage of gum disease) because it helps remove food particles from between the teeth and gums that the toothbrush can’t reach.
So what’s the “correct” way to use a thread and how do you know you’re doing it right?
- Take an American Dental Association approved dental floss and cut a piece about 18 inches long.
- You’ll want to wrap each end of the floss around your middle finger (this will help hold the floss and allow you to wind the floss constantly when it gets dirty) and hold it tight between your thumb and forefinger.
- Move the floss between your teeth in a gentle rubbing motion.
- When you reach the gum line, roll it into a C shape against the tooth and slide the floss into the space between the gum and the tooth.
- Gently rub the floss against the side of the tooth, moving it away from the gum line in an up and down motion. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.
Despite what Hollywood might have you believe, the classic rinsing and spitting should actually happen between flossing, not at the end.
Well, the purpose of mouthwash is to rinse out all the food debris you just removed from between your teeth and gums from your mouth. This way, you ensure that nothing is accidentally left behind and is likely to get stuck between your teeth and gums again.
Also, since the purpose of mouthwash is to rinse the mouth, doing it after brushing actually nullifies all the good things that fluoride toothpaste does for your teeth.
If you have not yet incorporated mouthwash into your oral care routine, here is an easy step-by-step guide so you can do so easily and effectively.
- Choose an ADA-approved mouthwash. There are many different types of mouthwash, such as antiseptic, fluoride, whitening, etc., so which one you choose is up to you. However, it is recommended to use fluoride or an antiseptic because the latter will help kill any bacteria that may already be wreaking havoc on your teeth and the former will help strengthen your tooth enamel.
- Fill the cup up to the recommended dose line and pour the mouthwash into your mouth, being careful not to swallow it.
- Rinse the mouthwash for 30 seconds. This ensures that the surfaces of each tooth are properly rinsed as well as the gums and tongue.
- When you’re done, spit the mouthwash into the sink. If you are using a fluoride mouthwash, be sure to wait another 30 seconds before rinsing to give the fluoride enough time to work.
Ah, the resistance piece to your oral care routine.
If you do nothing else to take care of your smile, you should probably, at the very least, brush your teeth twice a day. Which is a good thing because brushing your teeth is key to preventing cavities, cavities, gum disease, and periodontitis.
But have you ever wondered why brushing your teeth is so important? And do you even know if you’re doing it right?
See, it all comes back to plaque. This is the sticky film that encases our teeth and contains harmful bacteria. This plaque produces acids that attack the tooth enamel, eventually causing it to break down and form cavities.
If left untreated, the plaque hardens to become what is known as tartar. Tartar removal is much more difficult, which makes it even more difficult to keep your teeth clean. Tartar buildup also leads to inflammation along the gum line, which can lead to gum disease and periodontitis.
So how do you make sure you brush your teeth properly?
- Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, apply a pea-sized amount of ADA-certified fluoride toothpaste to the brush.
- Wet your toothbrush.
- Start brushing. It is best to brush your teeth in a circular motion on the front or outside surfaces of your teeth. Then, as you work your way up the back or inner surfaces and chewing surfaces, brush with vertical, back, and front strokes.
- Brush for two full minutes to ensure you get all areas of your mouth, including your tongue.
- After two minutes have passed, spit the toothpaste into the sink and rinse it with tap water.
- Admire your beautiful smile in the mirror!
And remember, brushing and flossing is just one part of keeping your smile healthy. It’s also important to see your dentist twice a year for cleanings and checkups to make sure there are no underlying or serious health conditions. They are the best resource for keeping your smile in tip-top shape for years to come.
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