Oral Hygiene Tips
How often should I get dental checkups?
For people without any periodontal disease, a check up and cleaning every six months is standard protocol. People who have active periodontal disease or who have been treated, should have a check up and cleaning every three months.
What is the best kind of toothbrush?
Generally speaking, a soft bristled toothbrush is best. Whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electric, anything harder than soft, is too hard. Stiff bristles may give you that clean feeling, but they can also abrade your teeth and cause gum recession.
How to Properly Brush Your Teeth
It is recommended to brush your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes at a time. Most people fall short when it comes to how many times a day one brushes as well as the length of time one takes to brush his or her teeth. Two full minutes might seem like a long time to do something as simple as brushing your teeth but the easiest way to hit this time is to divide your mouth into four sections (top-left, top-right, bottom-left and bottom-right) and give each section a good 30 seconds of brushing. In no time, you'll hit your two minutes and be left with a healthy and clean smile.
To properly brush your teeth, angle your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle against the gumline of the outer surface of your teeth and while using short gentle strokes, sweep away any plaque that's build-up at the base of your teeth. Pay attention to your gumline and make sure to thoroughly brush around dental fillings, crowns and any other dental restorations. Now do the same thing but to the inner surfaces of your teeth and along the inner gumline. Next thoroughly brush the biting surfaces of your teeth again paying special attention to any dental restorations you might have to ensure they're cleaned of any plaque and food build-up. Finally brush the surface of your tongue to remove bad-breath-causing bacteria and gain that clean mouth feeling.
If you do not regularly brush your teeth, it can be common for your gums to bleed as the bacteria pockets open up and get cleaned out. Bleeding gums will go away after a very short time of regular brushing and flossing.
Don't Overdo It
You actually CAN brush your teeth too much. Brushing more than three times a day doesn't mean you'll have even cleaner teeth or even healthier gums. Brushing too much can actually damage your gums and wear down tooth enamel which can actually cause additional dental issues.
How to Floss, the Right Way
Flossing removes bits of food and any plaque build-up that is caught or stuck in the tight spaces between teeth and just below the gumline where a toothbrush cannot easily reach. Proper daily flossing combined with regular brushing is one of the easiest things you can do to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Floss is cheap, so don't be stingy. Wind about 18 inches of floss evenly around each of your middle fingers until one to two inches of floss is left between the two finders. Using your thumbs and index fingers, firmly grip the floss and slide the floss between your teeth. Curve the floss around the base of your tooth while using a gentle up-and-down motion, remove food particles and any plaque build-up between the two teeth. Take special note to make sure the floss reaches just below the gumline to ensure proper and thorough cleaning.
Repeat this step for all of your teeth and unwind a clean section of floss between your fingers as you move between teeth.
NEVER "saw" at your gums with dental floss or force the floss between teeth as this can damage gum tissue and be extremely painful.
Chewing gum naturally triggers your saliva glands to produce extra saliva. Saliva is your mouth's best natural defense against plaque build-up because it acts as a barrier over the surfaces of your teeth to make it more difficult for plaque to start forming and actually contains enzymes that can break down food particles in your mouth. If you choose to chew gum, it is recommended to chew a sugar-free gum to help prevent cavities.
What you eat affects the air you exhale. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, contribute to objectionable breath odor. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is expelled. The odors will continue until the body eliminates the food. People who diet may develop unpleasant breath from infrequent eating. If you don't brush and floss daily, particles of food remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Food that collects between the teeth, on the tongue and around the gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odor. Dry mouth occurs when the flow of saliva decreases. Saliva is necessary to cleanse the mouth and remove particles that may cause odor. Dry mouth may be caused by various medications, salivary gland problems or continuously breathing through the mouth. Tobacco products cause bad breath, so if you use tobacco, ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit. Bad breath may also be the sign of a medical disorder, such as a local infection in the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailment.