Everyone’s oral hygiene routine is a little different. You may use a different type of toothpaste than someone else or you may floss before you brush. While certain aspects may vary, everyone should follow a similar regimen to protect their oral health and guard against gum disease and tooth decay. Here is a look at a complete oral hygiene routine and why it’s important to engage in simple dental care habits.
The average oral hygiene routine begins with a full two minutes of brushing. Brushing helps to keep your tooth surfaces clean and prevents an accumulation of plaque on the area where your teeth meet your gums to prevent gum disease. While brushing, use a soft-bristled toothbrush with just a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. The toothbrush should fit your mouth comfortably. Consider upgrading to a battery-operated or electric toothbrush to achieve a better clean.
Also, practice your technique while brushing. Hold the toothbrush at a slight angle and aim the bristles towards the area where the teeth meet the gums. Use gentle back and forth motions in small circles. Do not brush too hard as the bristles can irritate the gums. While brushing, make sure to clean both the back and front of each tooth, as well as your tongue. Once you’re done brushing, thoroughly rinse your toothbrush and store it in an upright position so that it can properly air dry.
Flossing is a great way to remove excess food and plaque from between the teeth that could not be reached with a toothbrush alone. Bacteria often hide in the tight spaces between your teeth and can contribute to cavities and gum disease. Ideally, you should floss at least once per day.
Start by breaking off a piece of floss that is about 18 inches in length. Wrap most of the floss around your middle fingers and pull the floss taunt, leaving just a small section to start. Gently glide the floss between each tooth using a back and forth motion. Avoid snapping the floss against your gums to avoid irritation. Using the floss, create a “C” shape to get an optimal clean. Unwind new floss as you progress through your mouth.
Some people have difficulty using traditional floss. Fortunately, there are other alternatives that may be easier for you to handle. Try an interdental cleaner, such as a pre-threaded flosser, dental pick, water flosser, silicone wedge plaque remover, or a tiny brush that reaches between the teeth.
After brushing and flossing, follow up with a mouthwash. Sip a small amount of an ADA-approved mouthwash and swish it in your mouth for approximately 30 to 40 seconds with your lips closed. You can then spit it out into the sink. Do not swallow mouthwash as it may contain ingredients that are harmful for digestion. Today, many mouthwashes contain fluoride that contribute to stronger teeth and can help further prevent tooth decay.
When to See a Dentist
There are certain instances in which a person should find a dentist in their area for a checkup. If you are experiencing signs of an oral health problem, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Bonham Dental Arts provides a full scope of services. These include routine checkups, cleanings, and other solutions that help patients achieve optimal dental health and wellness.
Red flags to look out for include:
- Swollen, tender, or red gums
- Gums that pull away from your teeth
- Gums that bleed when you floss or brush
- Painful chewing
- Loose permanent teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Unusual taste in your mouth
- Sensitivity to hot or cold
Contact Bonham Dental Arts
Located in Largo, FL, Bonham Dental Arts has served the local area for several decades. Our dental practice offers a wide selection of services, including restorative dentistry, family dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and sedation dentistry. We also accept emergencies and do our best to ensure that patients receive the information and treatment they need to maintain good oral and overall health. To learn more about what a complete oral hygiene routine entails or to schedule an appointment, contact Bonham Dental Arts.