Oral hygiene is the foundation of good dental health! Brushing and flossing regularly is the best way to keep your Midlothian smile healthy and clean. Consider this your personal tutorial on the art of dental hygiene, instructed by Dr. Alex Hawkins and the expert hygienists at Hawkins Family Dentistry. If you have any questions or would like to test your skills in person, feel free to give us a call!
Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Floss, and Mouthwash
Before we get to talking technique, we need to make sure you have the right tools for the job. You’re going to need a toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, and floss. Pick whatever floss is most comfortable for you and any toothpaste that you like, provided it has fluoride. Mouthwash is not required, but some Midlothian folks really like the extra oral health boost you get from a good swish and gargle.
How do you pick a good toothbrush? Here are the basics:
- Always go with soft bristles. Medium or hard bristles can damage enamel.
- Choose a brush that fits your mouth. The head of the brush should be small enough to reach all the way behind your back teeth and fit comfortably in your mouth and hand.
- Electric toothbrushes are fine, but you can achieve the same results with a regular toothbrush if you know how to brush like a pro.
- Remember to get a new toothbrush every three to four months — especially every time you get over a cold, or whenever the bristles start to look mangled.
Floss Like a Boss
Dr. Hawkins reminds us to floss before brushing. That way you can ensure that the particles and bacteria unearthed during flossing will be removed during the expert brushing session that follows. Make sure to floss at least once a day.
Here’s how to floss:
- Wrap about 18 inches of floss around your two index fingers, with most of it on one finger.
- Work the floss in between two teeth, wrap it around the back tooth and work it up and down several times. Then, repeat with the front tooth.
- Make sure you don’t “snap” the floss, because this can injure your gums.
- As you get to each tooth, let out a little more floss and wrap it around the finger picking up slack. This way, you won’t put the nasty stuff from one tooth back between two other teeth.
Expert Brushing Techniques
It’s that time. We’ve talked toothbrushes, floss, and toothpaste, so now it’s time to teach the fine folks of Midlothian how to brush like a dentist. Here we go!
- Brush at least twice a day. The best times are right after breakfast and right before bed.
- Don’t overdo it on the toothpaste. You only need a pea-sized dollop. Any more than that will make your mouth unpleasantly foamy and increase your chances of swallowing fluoride, which is not good for your health.
- Brush for at least two minutes. The most common mistake is not brushing long enough. Using a stop watch, hourglass, or a just humming a song can help you stay on track.
- Start with your brush on your gum line at a 45-degree angle.
- Brush up and down and/or in a circular motion, but NOT across.
- Don’t brush too hard! Brushing harder doesn’t make up for not brushing long enough. In fact, brushing too hard can damage enamel and even injure gums enough to cause recession.
- Make sure to brush all surfaces of your teeth – that means front, back, sides, corners, and chewing surfaces. If you divide your brushing time into 30 seconds for each side of the upper and lower teeth, you stand a much better chance of covering all of your bases.
- Brush your tongue. The worst of bad breath-causing bacteria live on your tongue.
- Rinse out your mouth, rinse off your brush, use a little mouthwash if you like, and pack it in.
- Pat yourself on the back for brushing the right way and giving yourself the excellent oral care you deserve!
If you have questions about any of this information or would like to come in for a professional cleaning, give us a call at Hawkins Family Dentistry today!