Are you an oral healthcare ninja? Practicing these brushing basics will ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles
Oral health affects our ability to smile, talk, eat, and show emotions. It can be expensive to fix problems caused by poor oral health, and we can miss out on things because of pain or insecurities. Teeth are incredibly important to our everyday life, and we need to make sure we are taking the best possible care of them. Consider these brushing basics from the American Dental Association:
- Brush your teeth twice a day. When you brush, don't rush. Try to spend 2-3 minutes brushing.
- Use the proper equipment. Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. You may also consider using an electric or battery-operated toothbrush. They can reduce plaque more than manual brushing.
- Practice good technique. Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle, aiming the bristles toward the gum line. Gently brush with short back-and-forth motions. Remember to brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, as well as your tongue.
- Keep your equipment clean. Store your toothbrush in an upright position, and allow it to air-dry. Do not routinely cover toothbrushes, or keep them in closed areas; this can lead to bacteria growth. Try to keep it separate from other toothbrushes in the same holder, to prevent cross-contamination.
- Know when to replace your toothbrush. Invest in a new toothbrush or a replacement head for your electric or battery-operated toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner, if the bristles become irregular or frayed.
- Don't forget to floss! As long as you do a thorough job, it doesn't matter if you brush or floss first. Also, resist the temptation to use toothpicks or other objects that could injure your gums and let in bacteria.
Regular dental cleanings are very important to ensure good oral health. Everyone should get their teeth cleaned at least twice a year. Let your dentist know if you are experiencing any of these problems:
- Red, tender or swollen gums
- Gums that bleed, when you brush or floss
- Gums that begin pulling away from your teeth
- Loose permanent teeth
- Changes in the way your top and bottom teeth align with each other
- Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold
- Persistent bad breath or an unusual taste in your mouth
- Changes in the way your dentures or partial dentures fit
- Difficulty swallowing
- Mouth ulcers or sores that don't heal
Remember, HAWA advocates for early detection and treatment of problems. Early detection can help ensure a lifetime of good oral health.