Make the Most of Your Dental Hygiene Routine
Do you have a good dental hygiene routine? At James A. Penney, III, DDS we know that the best way to fight tooth decay and save every tooth is to be proactive when it comes to dental hygiene. Do you have the right dental hygiene routine for your teeth? Here are a few tips.
1. When you brush your teeth, think of your mouth as quadrants.
It should take you 2 minutes to brush your teeth. When you are rushing out the door in the morning, it’s hard to take the time to brush right. Think of your teeth as separate quadrants; top right, top left, bottom right, bottom left. Spend 30 seconds cleaning the top chewing surface and both sides of each.
2. Brush softly.
Despacito. Speaking of being in a hurry, many people brush too fervently. You should brush each quadrant of teeth softly in a circular motion or in short gentle strokes. Brushing fast in a back and forth motion can damage your enamel. Hold the brush at a 45 degree angled pointed towards your gums.
3. Use the right toothbrush and toothpaste.
“Is this toothbrush approved by the American Dental Association?” Your toothbrush should have soft bristles and be small enough to effectively reach and clean your back molars. If your dentist recommends using a toothpaste with fluoride in it, make sure it has the correct amount for your age. You should replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
4. Floss once a day, brush twice.
The frequency and timing of your dental hygiene routine matters. You should wait an hour before eating to brush your teeth and don’t brush your teeth until an hour after you eat. This is because chewing and drinking sugary drinks puts your enamel and saliva to work. Both need to equalize the acidity of your mouth to protect your teeth while you brush. If you brush too soon or eat too quickly, it will cause more decay to your enamel.
The best time to brush your teeth is first thing in the morning and right before bed. It is also recommended that you floss at night before brushing. Flossing removes all the food from that day from between your teeth. When you brush after flossing the plaque from between your teeth is sure to be cleaned out.
5. Don’t snack constantly.
Enjoy sugary treats? If you can’t cut sugar out of your diet, at least restrict your consumption of sugary foods and drinks to mealtime. It takes an hour for your enamel and saliva to return to regular acidic levels after eating. If you frequently snack or drink sugary drinks, you are not giving them the time to recover, causing more decay.
This does not apply to drinking water. Remember to drink plenty of water. Your saliva can’t efficiently protect your teeth from acid and decay if you have a dry mouth. This is another reason it’s a good idea to floss and brush right before bed.