Most of us are taught from a very early age to brush and floss our teeth every day. But making sure you are brushing and flossing in the most effective way, and adding additional measures to your daily oral hygiene routine, can make a huge difference in your oral health. Here are a few easy ways to make sure that you are practicing the best oral hygiene routine at home each and every day.
- Make sure you’re brushing often enough. You should brush for a minimum of two minutes, twice a day.
- Use the right toothbrush. Choose either a small or medium sized toothbrush with soft or medium bristles. This is the best way clean the hard-to-reach areas in your mouth, such as between teeth, the backs of your teeth, and teeth located in the back of your mouth. Keep your toothbrush clean by rinsing it thoroughly after you’re done, then letting it air dry. And change your toothbrush on a regular basis – typically every three months or so.
- Choose the best toothpaste. That can be a daunting task with so many brands to choose from! Just make sure your toothpaste carries a Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association.
- Brush your teeth the right way. The American Dental Association recommends that you hold your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gums, and move the brush in short, back and forth strokes. In areas where plaque is more likely to form – such as on the backs of your front teeth – hold the brush vertically and use even shorter strokes. Remember to brush your tongue as well, since bacteria collects there too.
- Floss daily and floss correctly. Flossing is meant to remove bacteria and food particles that collect between your teeth. The best way to ensure that you’re reaching those areas is to move the floss back and forth between the teeth in a C shape. The motion should result in the floss wrapping around each tooth surface. You should be flossing at least once a day, but flossing more is great – just make sure you don’t floss so much that is damages your gum tissue. And remember to always floss after you brush.
- Use an anti-gingivitis mouthwash. After you’ve finished brushing and flossing, complete your routine by rinsing with an anti-gingivitis mouthwash. This will help to remove any particles you might have missed while brushing and flossing. There are several brands of mouthwash available, but it’s best to choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
The final part of any good oral hygiene routine is to visit your dentist twice a year – or however often he or she recommends – for exams and professional cleanings. These visits, combined with a thorough at-home hygiene routine, will ensure that you experience a lifetime of good oral health.