Oral Hygiene Basics
Keeping your teeth healthy is important, and it isn’t difficult to do. All you have to do is stick to a few oral hygiene basics. You probably learned them from your mom and they were further reinforced in school, but now you’re looking to brush up on the fundamentals. Maybe you’re wondering if you forgot something, or you’re hoping to teach your toddler and don’t want to miss out on something important. Let’s take a rapid jog through the things every person should do to keep their mouth and teeth healthy.
You Guessed it: Brush!
You don’t get more basic than brushing your teeth. Do it in the morning and again before bedtime. But don’t think that just waving a brush in the general direction of your teeth will do it. Use the correct technique! A survey showed that only one in ten people brush their teeth correctly. And a study in the UK showed that four out of ten people don’t brush their teeth often enough.
Use your next trip to the dentist or oral hygienist to get tips on how to brush your teeth the right way. By the way, don’t forget to brush your tongue. It also acts as a host for nasty bacteria you don’t want living in your mouth.
Even the best toothbrush can’t reach some of the tight crannies between your teeth – but the tight space doesn’t mean there isn’t space for decay-causing plaque build-up. Floss provides the only effective solution, and if you don’t do it twice a day, you should at least floss when you brush your teeth at night.
Most people know this oral hygiene basic, but if few people brush correctly or often enough, even fewer are regular flossers. Protect your teeth with this basic habit.
You Service Your Car – So Service Your Mouth Too
To keep your car running smoothly, you take it to a mechanic for regular services. While a car doesn’t last a lifetime, your teeth can! All it takes is your 6-monthly “service” in which your dentist checks your mouth for the early signs of trouble. If anything is going wrong, early treatment could save you from losing teeth. If necessary, your dentist will either clean your teeth or refer you to an oral hygienist for a really through clean that beats anything you can do with a toothbrush.
A Few Extra Tips
If you follow the three golden rules we discussed above, you’re well on the way towards keeping your mouth and teeth healthy. For those who’d like to go the extra mile, here are a few additional tips:
- Chew sugar-free gum after snacks and meals to stimulate saliva production. Saliva helps to neutralize acids that can damage tooth enamel.
- Try to save sugary treats for very special occasions. Frequently eating foods that contain sugar increases your chances of tooth decay.
- Take bleeding gums as an urgent warning signal and consult your dentist as soon as possible. Your gums should not bleed after brushing teeth.
- Choose a medium-soft brush instead of a hard one. Hard toothbrushes can abrade tooth enamel over time.