Fresh breath, strong teeth and healthy gums are all part of your oral health. There are four simple ways you can make —and keep— your mouth clean and healthy: Brush twice a day. Floss regularly. Rinse with mouthwash. Chew sugar-free gum after meals.
It is important to focus on these four routines that can help people maintain healthy smiles. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes, with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of the brush should fit the mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily. The proper brushing technique is to:
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
- Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
Cleaning between your teeth is an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums. The ADA recommends flossing between your teeth at least once a day to remove plaque that is not removed by brushing. If plaque is not disrupted, it can eventually cause cavities, which leads to inflammation, bleeding gums, and bone loss.
Because teeth alone account for less than half of the mouth, rinsing with a mouthwash can help eliminate biofilm and bacteria that brushing and flossing cannot. Rinsing often, along with brushing and flossing, may help reduce the chance of dental decay and infection. However, mouthwash is not a replacement for brushing or flossing. Also, avoid alcohol-based rinses because they can dry out your mouth and irritate the soft tissues.
Lastly, clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay. The chewing of sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva, which washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth.
Talk with your dental hygienist today about how to give yourself a lifetime of smiles.
Written by: Birmingham Smiles Dentistry
Submitted by: Burnett Medical Center
“Healthy Minute” is brought to you by healthyburnett.org