HOW TO FLOSS YOUR TEETH
Floss your teeth once a day in order to clean the sides of the teeth where the toothbrush won’t reach (which amounts to 40% of your tooth). Wind the floss around your middle fingers so that you can hold it taught, then slide it in between your teeth. Curve it around one tooth and move it in an up-and-down motion a few times. Don’t move the floss in-and-out; you’re not trying to saw through jail bars here. Once you get that tooth cleaned, curve the floss around the neighboring tooth, do the same motion a few times, then pull the floss out and move on to the next in-between area. You should also be sure to get around the back side of the very last tooth in each corner of your mouth. Once you get a routine, the whole thing shouldn’t take longer than 1-2 minutes. Don’t know which kind of floss to use? It doesn’t matter, just do it–that’s the important thing. Also, you’ll hear differing opinions about whether you should floss before you brush or after. Again, no studies have been done to show a significant difference. The important thing is that you floss at all.
ELECTRIC VS MANUAL TOOTHBRUSH
Electric toothbrushes have become very popular in our society, but many wonder if they really make that much of a difference in one’s oral health.Recent studies show that yes, they are indeed worth the cost, but only if used properly. Research studies have shown that sonic brushes provide better removal of bacterial plaque and prevent gingivitis more effectively than a manual toothbrush.1,2,3 This is believed to be the case for a few reasons.
First, brushing effectively with a manual toothbrush requires a certain technique and requires that the patient brush for two minutes. Unfortunately, many patients don’t angle the manual brush bristles properly and typically don’t bother to set a timer to make sure that they brush for a solid two minutes. The motion of the bristles on electric toothbrushes makes up for improper angling of the brush by the patient. Also, these electric brushes usually have built in timers, so that the average person doesn’t have to think about how long they’ve been brushing.
Also, the nice brushes, like Oral B and Sonicare, are made with the latest and greatest sonic technology. This technology is thought to break up the sticky film of bacteria on the teeth better than brushes without it. In other words, the expensive brushes are worth it.
However, if you use an electric toothbrush, be sure to use it the right way. Don’t scrub it back and forth on your teeth like you are washing your car. Instead, move the brush slowly around your teeth while keeping the brush in contact with the enamel. You paid a lot for that brush; let it do the work! Also, if you have metal braces on your teeth, be sure to brush above and below each metal bracket.
HOW TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH
Cleaning your teeth and your mouth regularly is the best way to reduce your risk for cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. At the very least, you should brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.
First, you should use a soft toothbrush when cleaning your teeth. If you are accustomed to using a hard brush you may feel that a soft toothbrush just doesn’t get the job done. I assure you that the soft brushes are very effective. Hard brushes on the other hand are just way too hard; they can be very damaging to the gums around your teeth. Save them for cleaning the grout in your shower. Once you have your brush, place a small drop of toothpaste on your toothbrush, an amount about the size of a pea. I know that the toothpaste commercials always show a huge worm of paste on the brushes, but you just don’t need that much. You may hear differing opinions on whether the brush should be wet or dry. I wouldn’t worry about it; just do whichever you prefer. No studies have shown a significant difference between a wet or dry brush. Place the brush so that the bristles are at a 45 degree angle aimed at the gums. Begin by holding the bristles at a 45 degree angle to the gums on the front smiling surface of the teeth and move the brush in small circles. It’s best if you start on one side and slowly move all the way across to the other side so that you don’t forget where you’ve been. Do the same motion on the back sides of the teeth. You can scrub the chewing surfaces of the teeth in a back and forth motion.
It should take you a solid two minutes to brush your teeth effectively. Set your stopwatch or a timer to know you’ve spent the right amount of time. You could also watch this 2 minute video for entertainment, because if you are not used to it, two minutes feels like a long time.
DENTAL HEALTH AND YOUR DIET
Sugar is the main cause of dental decay when there are bacteria present. More significant than the amount of sugar you eat is the frequency of consumption. Probably the worst thing you can do to your teeth is to drink a soda and have a sip every few minutes over a long period of time; the same is true for snacking. It is recommended that if you want to have a snack or soda or juice it is better to have it after food, as dessert, or have it in one sitting. Eating or drinking something sweet over an extended period of time creates a constant supply of sugar for bacteria that causes tooth decay!
It is important to be aware of all the sources of sugar that are out there. It is not just everything that is sweet, but anything that can turn to sugar like pieces of bread. Cutting down your sugar intake is good for cavity prevention, as well as your general health.But what about when you have to have sugar? The best way to avoid cavities is to prevent the sugar from staying next to your teeth. Brushing after eating sugar, rinsing your mouth with Fluoride mouth wash, or chewing sugarless gum can help. However, nothing has the effect of avoiding sugar!
Is there any kind of food that prevents tooth decay? Well, not really. Some people believed that chewing foods like apples and carrots may have some plaque removal effect, but they still contain some sugar so any advantage is not clear. Another group of food that causes significant damage to teeth structure is acidic foods. If in frequent contact with teeth, things like lime, lemon, and grapefruit can cause serious irreversible damage (erosion) to your teeth.
Fluoride:Decay & Prevention
Many years ago scientists started to notice that children who were born and raised in areas with natural fluoride in drinking water had fewer cavities than children in other areas. Fluoride absorbed by your body when teeth is forming (during mother’s pregnancy to early childhood) integrates into the structure of enamel and makes it stronger.
After teeth eruption, fluoride found in your toothpaste, mouthwash, or in what your dentist places on your teeth still has a positive effect. It strengthens the enamel and reduces the chance of tooth decay.
If you have children and live in an area that has no fluoride in its drinking water, you should consult your dentist and physician about fluoride tablets that are available for children.