Look around you. How many technological devices are within your reach right now? I can touch about five. Yes, the spread of technology has made our lives easier, but somehow we still find ourselves increasingly busy. I think it’s interesting, this idea that we’re slowly running out of hours in the day to do everything we need to do. But it’s more than a little scary, too — especially because it seems to have crept into our lives so much that too often, we forget to do the most basic, important things. Here’s a terrifying example: many adults admit they often neglect to brush their teeth at night, due to simple exhaustion or forgetfulness.
If you’re among the 25 percent of adults who only brush once a day, or if you feel too busy to do more than a “scrub and rinse” with your toothbrush, you’ve just got to change your thinking. We know that bad brushing leads to tooth decay, which ultimately means even more pain and time lost later on — as time-consuming procedures like root canals or extractions become necessary.
Refresh yourself on the proper brushing and flossing techniques — it’s worth your time.
Tip #1: Put in the time
Healthy, strong teeth are an investment. And like any good investment, their care takes time. To ensure your teeth are as healthy as possible, you should make sure you’re brushing for two minutes a day, twice a day. Unfortunately, most adults are far from reaching that two minute mark. If you need help, try setting your phone’s timer until you get used to what two minutes feels like.
Tip #2: Get the magic touch
There are a couple of keys to proper brushing techniques. First is the angle: make sure you’re brushing at a 45 degree angle. This makes it easier to roll the brush down away from the gum, covering your whole tooth. Second is the motion: side-to-side brushing can lead to scrapes and gum recession — two things you don’t want. Instead, brush up and down, in small circles. And finally, watch your pressure: hard brushing is damaging to gums, too. Brush softly to really care for your teeth.
Tip #3: Change your routine
If you’re always brushing areas of your mouth in the same order, the ones you brush last could be getting sloppy care. Make sure you switch up your routine now and then to ensure you’re giving all areas of your teeth equally good brushing. Go from outside to inside, up to down and then the chewing surfaces, or vice versa. Just make sure you’re brushing intentionally, and getting all the areas clean, every single time.
Tip #4: Brush your tongue
Your brush harbors the same decay- and odor-causing bacteria that hide between your teeth, so there’s no reason to skip this part of your mouth while you’re brushing. For best results, clean it the same as you do your teeth: softly brush it up and down, then back and forth.
Tip #5: Don’t forget to floss
For some reason, many adults think that flossing is just an extra habit — something not entirely necessary. That is not true. Flossing is a crucial step to ensuring you’re removing any leftover food particles and bacteria that your toothbrush couldn’t reach. Start with about 18 inches of floss, and work up and down between each tooth. Make sure you’re curving the floss around the base of the tooth to reach under the gumline — but don’t ever snap or force the floss, as that could cut your gum. Use a clean area of the floss with each tooth, so you don’t re-introduce bacteria to different parts of the mouth. And remember: your dentist recommends flossing at least once a day.
Visit Your Dentist Today
Good oral care habits combine regular brushing and flossing with a dental examination every six months. If it’s been awhile since your last dental checkup, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your Medford dentist today. Your dental health is worth your time — we promise.