Breaking Down the 3 Basics of Oral Care

Having an effective and consistent oral care routine is crucial to maintaining a healthy smile. Why is it important to floss, brush, and rinse? Each step of your oral care routine plays a part in keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

Flossing

When should you floss? Typically, flossing before you brush is better than flossing after you brush. When you floss, you loosen up any bacteria and plaque. When you brush after you floss, you are able to remove the particles from your mouth. The toothpaste can do a more effective job at protecting your teeth and preventing cavities. Flossing and brushing can help prevent gum disease and fight plaque.

Before you begin flossing, pick the right floss for you. Do you prefer using flossing picks or flossing thread? Many come in different shapes, sizes, and flavors, so choose the one that best fits your needs. Waxed floss tends to glide easier as you move it in and out of your teeth.

Use about 18 inches of floss, and wrap it around your middle fingers until you have approximately two inches in between. Grasp the floss with your middle fingers and thumbs and slide the floss up and down between each tooth. Repeat this until you have flossed each tooth. After you’ve finished, discard the floss.


Brushing

Which toothpaste should you use? What type of brush is best? What are the most effective brushing techniques? When it comes to brushing, you should brush your teeth at least twice per day.

Finding the right toothpaste is often subjective. First, determine what you want from a toothpaste. Are you looking for clean ingredients? Do you want your toothpaste to contain fluoride? Do you want enhanced whitening power? Depending on your needs will help to determine which brand and type is right for you.

Examine how your gums and teeth react. After a few uses, are your gums swelling? Are you teeth sensitive? This may be a result from various ingredients in the toothpaste. However, it may also be a result from the toothbrush you are using. Soft bristle toothbrushes are great for your gums. Depending on your gum sensitivity, you may want to consider getting a soft bristle toothbrush.

What is the proper way to brush? If you are using an electric toothbrush, some of the work is already done for you. First, add about a pea-sized amount of your toothpaste to your toothbrush. Point your toothbrush on a slight angle towards your gums. Begin brushing in a circular motion along the outside and insides of your teeth. You may go back and use a back and forth motion to clean the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Lastly, spit out the toothpaste.


Rinsing

Although many of us may be guilty of doing this, it is important not to rinse right after you brush. Toothpaste leaves a small amount of fluoride on your teeth after you brush. This allows your teeth to remain protected.

When should you rinse? Typically, you should wait a few hours after you brush. If you feel like there is a residue on your teeth, take a small amount of water and rinse. Many mouthwashes contain directions on how to properly use the specific brand of mouthwash. Typically, you should swish the mouthwash in your mouth for about thirty seconds to one minute before spitting it out.

What mouthwash should you use? Choosing a mouthwash is usually a personal preference. However, if you have sensitive teeth or gums, you may opt for an alcohol-free mouthwash. If your mouthwash contains fluoride, wait about thirty minutes before eating or drinking.

Visiting a Dentist

For the best tips and tricks on how to properly take care of your teeth and gums, visit a dentist at least once a year. If you have cavities, sensitive gums, or excess plaque build up, your dentist can recommend various oral care brands as well as personalized brushing, flossing, and rinsing techniques. If you have not had the best oral care routine, it is never too late to start!

Visiting the dentist doesn’t have to be painful, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Speak with various dentists about insurance options and payment plans. Many dentists will be willing to work with you. If you are sensitive to pain, voice your concerns to your dentist before he or she begins any kind of procedure. A dentist can help put you on the right path to getting a healthy smile.

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