How diligent are you at sticking to your daily dental hygiene routine? According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIH), cavities remain the largest oral health problem with 42 percent of grade school children, 59 percent of high school students and 92 percent of adults developing cavities. The truth is that cavities are preventable with good oral hygiene.
Understanding Good Oral Hygiene
Good daily oral hygiene starts with brushing and flossing your teeth, and to do this, you’ll need the right tools, which includes a good manual or electric toothbrush, toothpaste and floss that easily fits between your teeth and is easy to use.
Many children, adults and seniors do well with soft or medium bristled manual toothbrushes. Getting a firm toothbrush can lead to brushing too hard, which can lead to gum recession over time. For individuals with dexterity problems or who have trouble reaching all of their teeth while angling and moving their toothbrushes, a soft or medium bristled electric toothbrush can help.
Your toothpaste should carry the ADA seal of approval. Choosing the brand, type and flavor is up to you. If you are prone to developing stains, you may want a whitening toothpaste. If you have sensitive teeth, you’ll want to choose a toothpaste that combats tooth sensitivity. If you are having trouble choosing a good toothpaste, our dentist in Largo can help you make an informed decision.
There are many different types of floss and flossers on the market, including standard waxed and unwaxed floss, dental tape, hand-held flossers, vibrating flossers and dental sticks. If you have trouble getting floss between your teeth, you may want to try waxed floss or waxed dental tape. Hand-held flossers are good if you have trouble getting the floss between your back teeth, and vibrating dental flossers will massage your gums as well as remove plaque. However, the most important aspect of choosing a type of floss is to make sure it has the ADA seal of approval, which means it has been tested by the ADA and meets their requirements.
Mouthwash can help freshen breath, kill bacteria, remove any particles that may have been left behind after brushing and flossing and help your mouth feel cleaner. Some mouthwashes contain fluoride, which can help prevent cavities. The type of mouthwash you choose is entirely up to you. However, like toothpaste and floss, you should always choose a mouthwash that has the ADA seal of approval. If you have a particular problem you are trying to address with mouthwash, like dry mouth or bad breathe, our dentist can help you choose the most effective product.
Your Oral Hygiene Schedule
Once you have the right tools in your oral hygiene cabinet, you’ll need to stick to a good daily routine.
Brushing Your Teeth
You should brush your teeth for three minutes, twice a day. However, this is the minimum amount of toothbrushing that is recommended. Ideally, you’ll also want to brush your teeth about 30 minutes after eating meals and snacks. If you have braces or oral appliances, you may need to brush your teeth more often in order to maintain a healthy mouth.
Flossing Your Teeth
Everyone should floss their teeth once a day. Most people choose to floss their teeth at night before bed, but you can also choose to floss your teeth in the morning or at any point during the day when you have time. Flossing your teeth helps prevent tartar buildup below your gumline because it removes the plaque between your teeth.
Mouthwash does not have a daily recommendation. Instead, you can use it when you want your mouth to feel fresher and cleaner. If you are trying to combat a chronic problem, like bad breath or dry mouth with mouthwash, our dentist can help you by examining your mouth and recommending the appropriate products.
Dental Checkups Our Largo, FL Dentist
In addition to maintaining a good oral hygiene routine, you’ll also need six-month or yearly dental checkups that include a professional cleaning and polishing and an examination to check for cavities and gum disease, like gingivitis and periodontal disease. To schedule a dental checkup with our dentist at Bonham Dental Arts in Largo, call us at 727-581-1869.