Proper prevention of many oral and dental diseases begins with the patient. Daily hygiene measures, including twice-daily brushing and flossing, are essential for clean teeth and overall good health.
The first step in tooth brushing is finding a toothbrush that fits your mouth and has comfortable bristles. Manual and electric toothbrushes work equally well as long as the person understands how to use them.
Brushing should last for 2-3 minutes. A good rule of thumb is to divide the mouth into quadrants and spend at least 30 seconds brushing each. Make sure to brush the front and back of each tooth, the gums, and the tongue. Most dentists recommend that you brush at least twice a day to prevent plaque buildup.
It is important to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months as they lose their effectiveness over time.
Flossing is as essential as brushing because it removes plaque between the teeth and at the gum line, areas where a toothbrush cannot reach. The process is often ignored, but should be done immediately after brushing.
The American Dental Hygienists Association suggest that you wind an 18 inch string of floss around each of your middle fingers until you are left with a 1-2 inch taut section of floss between each finger. The floss should gently slide between each tooth, up and down each tooth surface, and against the gum line. A clean section of floss should be used for each tooth.
Is Mouthwash Necessary?
Mouthwash is a helpful item, but not necessarily essential to overall oral health. It can freshen breath, kill bacteria, and remove particles left in the mouth after flossing. Some mouthwashes contain alcohol which may irritate some people, especially those who suffer from dry mouth. It may be necessary to consult a dentist regarding whether or not you should use mouthwash.
In addition to brushing and flossing, it is also important to have a yearly cleaning and exam from a dentist. He or she will be able to catch and diagnose any problems you may have and propose a treatment plan.
At Gallardo & Lamas Periodontics and Implant Dentistry of Miami, Florida, we are dedicated to helping our patients achieve healthy, beautiful, confident and fully functioning smiles. Call today for an appointment: (305) 447-1447.