The health of your teeth depends on proper home dental care. Are you using the right teeth cleaning techniques? Developing good dental health habits is the best way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Here are some easy-to-follow steps to protect your dental health.
You should brush your teeth three times a day and take your time to do a thorough job. Try to buying fluoride toothpastes that also offer tartar control, which helps slow the formation of tartar on your teeth.
When brushing your teeth, be sure to use a toothbrush with soft, round bristles and a head that is small enough to reach all the parts of your teeth.
If you have arthritis or other problems that make it difficult to brush, then try an electric or battery operated toothbrush that has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. Electric toothbrushes with a rotating and oscillating action are the most effective.
Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle against your teeth and brush with short back-and-forth motions. Brush all surfaces of the teeth, especially your front teeth and the back teeth. Brush the inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, but avoid harsh scrubbing, which can irritate your gums.
Also, be sure to brush the back of your tongue. This helps remove the plaque that causes bad breath and bacteria to grow.
Always rinse your toothbrush with water after brushing. Store your toothbrush in an upright position and allow it to air dry. Don't store toothbrushes in closed containers, which encourages the growth of bacteria.
Buy a new toothbrush or a replacement head for your electric toothbrush every three to four months.
In addition to brushing, you need to floss to reach tight spaces between your teeth and under your gum line. Gently move the floss between the teeth and toward the gums. Curve the floss around each tooth and gently slide it under the gum line.
Move the floss up and down several times to scrape off the plaque. If your gums bleed when you floss, don’t worry, as this should stop as your gums become healthier. If it's hard to manipulate the floss, use a floss holder or a dental pick designed to clean between teeth.
Try using an antiseptic mouth rinse to help reduce the plaque between your teeth. This is different from just a mouthwash. Make sure the words ‘antiseptic” are on the bottle.
To remove food particles from your teeth, try an oral irrigator, which is a device that aims a stream of water at your teeth.
Of course, you should always schedule regular dental cleanings and exams twice a year.
In the meantime, contact your dentist if you notice red or swollen gums, gums pulling away from your teeth, loose teeth, changes in teeth alignment, unusual sensitivity to hot and cold, or persistent bad breath.