Are you worried you’re not getting the best results out of your brushing, flossing and mouthwash routine? Do you think there is room for improvement in your or your family’s oral health routine? Have you been receiving less than sterling checkups when you go to the dentist? Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry has you covered with our checklist of tips for cleaner teeth and a cleaner mouth. Let’s get started with our brushing, flossing and other cleaning tips.
If you’re missing your morning or evening brushing routine, then you’re certainly putting your teeth at risk for plaque buildup and cavities. In the morning you want to brush after breakfast if possible, but you’ll want to wait a few minutes after you drink your coffee or orange juice. This is because brushing right after drinking acidic foods or drinks can actually spread the acids around on your teeth. Rinsing your mouth with water while you drink acidic drinks will help as well. If you can’t brush after breakfast, be sure to brush beforehand. You’ll want to remove the bacteria that have built up on your teeth overnight.
Once your day is complete and you are back home, you’ll want to brush your teeth right before bed. This allows the important fluoride ingredient to sit on your teeth while you sleep, which helps strengthen them. It’s important that you brush your teeth right before bed. After all, brushing and then going for a midnight snack will leave your teeth with bacteria-causing food on your teeth throughout the night.
Often many patients brush almost unconsciously, but we want to encourage you to brush with a plan in mind. Start with a 45 degree angle on the front of your teeth, and brush your gums as well as the front of your teeth. Then you can turn your brush vertical to brush the back of your teeth and molars. Leave no part of your teeth untouched. We also recommend starting in different places each time you brush. If you always start with your front teeth for example, you may end up brushing them more and neglecting other parts. Mixing things up ensures you will cover every part of your mouth. Don’t forget to brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper as well.
We’re not quite sure why companies still make and market harder bristle brushes. Everyone benefits from a soft or ultra soft brush. This is because harder brushing, or even brushing more than two times a day, can actually harm your teeth. It may also cause your gums to recede, which we cover in more detail in What Causes Gums To Recede. Using a soft brush is all you need to clean your teeth. You also don’t want to press the bristles into your teeth too hard. In this way gentle is more successful than aggressive when it comes to tips for cleaner teeth.
Over time your toothbrush can wear out, and it will clean less effectively. This is why dentists tout changing your brush every three months. This ensures that you’re using the best possible equipment to clean your teeth. Next time you show up for a professional cleaning at your dentist, they will probably give you a free brush! Also remember to keep your brush clean and dry when you’re not using it. Store it upright and make sure it is not touching other brushes. Don’t put anything over your brush as this can actually encourage bacteria growth. To clean your brush, all you need to do is run it over tap water. Using warm water can actually open up the bristles a bit and make it more effective at cleaning your teeth.
This next of our tips for cleaner teeth is a tough one for some people to stay up with, but you really need to floss every single day without fail. This is because plaque can build up in the areas between your teeth, and brushing alone can not remove it. While yes it can be kind of annoying to break out the floss at night, it really only amounts to a couple more minutes of work. Opt for string floss only. You can’t get the same cleaning effect from flossing picks, no matter how convenient they seem. It is also important to use fresh sections of the floss as you move through each tooth. You don’t want to push bacteria from one tooth back into another one! You’ll want to put the floss gently between each tooth, create a “C” shape by applying pressure by drawing the floss to your left or right, and then pull upward to remove any plaque on your teeth. Keeping up with this important routine is key for your long term dental health.
Believe it or not, mouthwash isn’t really a key component of your cleaning routine, but it doesn’t hurt much either. It can freshen your breath and add a little fluoride to your teeth, but it is not nearly as important as brushing and flossing daily. You should also be weary of claims that mouthwash brands make, as they may provide only minimal benefits. However, mouthwash can help whiten your teeth without much pain or sensitivity. The important thing to know about mouthwash is that you need to time it right. Rinsing with mouthwash right after your brush can potentially wash some of the fluoride deposited on your teeth away, especially between the teeth. Because of this, we recommend beginning your routine with mouthwash instead of ending with it.
The final one of our tips for cleaner teeth is a very important one. Putting off a routine visit to your dentist will only create more significant (and expensive) issues down the line. There is a reason why you should attend a cleaning and inspection every 6 months. This gives your dental hygienist a chance to remove hard to reach plaque and tartar that you can’t remove with your brushing and flossing routine, and your dentist can diagnose any potential problems before they get worse. Contact Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry to schedule your next appointment today.