Maintaining good oral health is essential to good general health; the implications of oral disease are far-reaching, and can lead to increased rates of diabetes, improper child-birth weight, heart disease, and other serious complications. There are a wide variety of steps you can take to improve oral health, not the least of which is regularly visiting your dentist; if you don’t have one, Markham Dental Centre is ready to see you. Good care starts at home, however; you need to know how to brush and floss
Most readers may be scratching their heads. We brush and (sometimes) floss out of habit, and you’ve likely done so since you were a small child; why would you need to learn how to do it? The reality is, many people don’t employ the proper techniques, which can result in bacteria being missed and plaque hardening into tartar. That’s why it’s important to review the steps involved in caring for your mouth at home.
Start by flossing; it’s more effective to brush after, not before. The length of floss you should use is equal to the distance between your hand and shoulder, wrap it around your index and middle fingers, leaving two inches between your hands. Slide the floss between your teeth, and wrap it into a “C” shape around the base of the tooth, and gently below the gumline. Floss from base to tip about two to three times; remember to get every tooth, including the molars. You’ve given yourself a wide length of floss, so adjust what length you’re using as you go, so there’s not too much buildup.
When brushing, angle your brush at 45 degrees to your teeth; start where the gums meet the teeth, and brush in a gentle, circular motion up and down. Remember to brush every surface of your teeth; cheek side, tongue side, and chewing surface, base to tip. People often brush too aggressively; remember that surface plaque after a meal is soft and loose, and can be removed with gentle brushing; tartar can’t be removed by brushing, no matter how vigorously you brush, so go see a dentist instead of roughing up your gums.
Brush slowly and methodically; your full mouth can take 3 minutes or more to brush properly. Be mindful; focus on the sensation of the bristles on your gums and teeth, and work your way from tooth to tooth, feeling each one. Change up your usual brushing pattern; go from right to left if your usual is left to right, or try brushing with your less dominant hand, in order to increase mindfulness. Changing your pattern will also help get spots usually missed by your automatic routine.
Visit your dentist regularly; they can help you find the right toothbrush for your mouth as well as identifying problem areas. Your teeth may not be the only things that need brushing; plaque can build up on the tongue and cheeks as well. You can improve your oral health by employing these simple steps; take the time, enjoy the experience, and improve your life.