Many people spend much money on skin care products and on frequent trips to beauty parlor or salon, but when come to dental care, they skip the visit. Teeth are actually precious asset and we should not take them for granted. In fact, oral care does not require much money commitment compared to the amount you have spent on your hair or skin.
Bacteria actually lives in your mouths and it always try to find a hard surface to stick to and grow to be plaque, an invisible film that coats your teeth. You can feel it when you wake up in the morning and run your tongue along the inside of your lower back teeth. You need to disrupt the formation of plaque with proper dental care.
Here are some of the practical tips:
- Get a good toothbrush to avoid tooth abrasion. The harder the brush, the greater the risk of harming your gum. I recommend soft end rounded bristles toothbrush. The shape of the toothbrush should also allow you to reach all the way to your back teeth easily.
- Electric toothbrushes not necessarily will clean your teeth better. However, these devices can motivate children to brush more or longer because they usually fascinates them. Also, they are useful for people who are less than diligent about proper brushing technique or for people with physical limitations that make brushing difficult.
- Change your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or as soon as the bristles get bent or splayed out. Brushes which are worn out will not be able to clean your teeth well and may even hurt your gum. Some toothbrush have color markers to indicate whether it is time to change a new brush.
- Use toothpaste with fluoride which help protect your teeth.
- Having said that, it is not the toothpaste that actually cleans your teeth, it is the mechanical action of the bristles in physical contact with the tooth surface that removes plaque.
- Your brush should be held at 45 degree angle to your gums because it enables the tips of the bristles to point to the gum line.
- Gently move your brush in short strokes in a back and forth motion. You do not need to brush too hard. I find that holding the toothbrush the same way you hold a pen will ensure a lighter stroke. You can still clean your teeth with dry bush and rinse with water. Just that your teeth will not have the benefit of fluoride. So, you should put more effort in moving the bristle, at and below the gum line, where it is most important to clean. When you use toothpaste, just squeeze out a bit the size of a pea.
- Spend enough time to brush teeth. Check out this article – How Long Should You Brush Your Teeth?
- If possible, in addition to brush your teeth in the morning and before going to bed at night, brush after lunch too.
- Each tooth has 5 sides, but a toothbrush cleans only 3 out of 5 sides. You need to clean all of your teeth and not just the front ones that show when you smile. Even though the 2 sides are very small, food that are trapped between your teeth starts to rot after few hours and it causes odor, destruction and disease. You will need dental floss or tiny interdental brushes that can reach in between the contact points of the teeth.
- When you use floss, it should be held against the tooth to perform the scraping motion along the side of the tooth. Do it gently because you should not press too hard. Your gum may bleed the first week when you start flossing. It is normal. But, if beyond this period, the bleeding still happens, go see your dentist. You may not do it right.
- Be very careful with teeth whitening products as they may create hazardous effects. How about mouthwash? I do recommend fluoride mouthwash as it further helps to strengthen tooth enamel. Rinse once a day after brushing.
- Watch what you eat and drink. Whenever after you eat, rinse your mouth with water. Another tip, I find that sugar free chewing gum is helpful to keep the teeth clean.
- Do not use your teeth as tools. Do not use your sharp incisors to open a bottle as your are taking risk to crack your teeth.
- For parents, teach your child proper dental care even when he is still young. Never let your child fall asleep with a bottle of milk or juice in his mouth. The sugar left in his teeth will be broken down into acid by bacteria which in turn cause tooth decay.
- Last but not least, visit your dentist twice a year.
In a nutshell, when comes to dental hygiene, it is just not brushing teeth alone. Learn the tips above and say No to tooth decay.
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