A routine dental care regimen is essential for the long-term health of your teeth and gums, but it's even more important to make sure you're using the right techniques. Not only will you get more bang for your buck when it comes to buying dental products, but your dental health will noticeably improve.
Floss Properly and Often
If it comes down to choosing, it's tempting to choose brushing over flossing. But flossing should be done at least once a day, whenever you brush your teeth. Whether you floss before or after doesn't matter, but it's not enough to floss just on occasion and hope your toothbrush will pick up the slack.
To make sure you get the most from your floss, hold it at an angle so that it gently pulls against the inside of your teeth rather than simply pulling it back and forth. Use long, singular motions to pull bits of food from between your teeth; short, jerky movements may loosen it, but otherwise keep it in the same place. Finally, make sure you get under your gum line; this helps prevent inflammation and gum disease. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, it's a sign you need to be a little more thorough.
Brush Right, Not Hard
Brushing properly, and with the right brush, is more important than how long you brush. The best toothbrush to use is an ADA-approved brush with soft bristles; harder bristles can scrape at your teeth's enamel or irritate your gums. Brushing properly is more efficient than brushing hard.
For greatest effect, brush at a 45-degree angle over the surface of each tooth rather than back and forth or up and down; this ensures the bristles will get deeper between your teeth and gums. Take care to brush behind your back teeth, as well as the inside surface of all your teeth.
Finally, most toothpastes will work so long as they are fluoridated. However, if you have issues with sensitivity, stay away from whitening toothpastes; they use abrasives to remove stains from your teeth, which can make sensitivity worse.
Rinse Before Brushing
Rinsing your mouth gives you multiple benefits, but to increase the effectiveness of your dental care routine, the best time to rinse is actually before you do any brushing or flossing – especially if you've recently eaten. Acids from the foods you've eaten can weaken your enamel, and swishing water in your mouth can help reduce those acids, making it safer to brush. In addition, by spitting out toothpaste and avoiding rinsing, you let the fluoride from the toothpaste remain undiluted, and therefore more effective.
Alternatively, you can add only a slight mix of water to the foam already in your mouth and use that to "rinse" your mouth when you're done brushing. Either way, for effective long-term care, avoid rinsing your mouth with water when you're finished brushing and flossing.
Contact a dental clinic, like Centre Family Dentistry, for more help.