Brush Up On Your Skills

Oral_HealthSome of the most important aspects of maintaining our oral health are the daily hygiene habits we practice. Brushing and flossing our teeth are activities that many of us were taught as children. However, just because we learned these oral health skills long ago doesn’t mean that we can’t get better at practicing them. Here are a few tips that can boost the effectiveness of your brushing and flossing sessions.

Giving plaque the brush off

  • If you haven’t heard of the Modified Bass Technique for brushing the surfaces of your teeth, now is a great time to start practicing it. In a nutshell, this technique emphasizes tilting the toothbrush head at a 45-degree angle, and using small circular motions with the brush, to ensure you are cleaning all the way down to, as well as slightly below, your gum line.
  • To get the full benefit out of using proper brushing technique, brush for two minutes per session.
  • Harder or more brushing isn’t always better. Dentists recommend using a soft bristle toothbrush and brushing no more than three times per day to avoid harming your tooth enamel and gums.
  • For maximum effectiveness, replace your toothbrush every 90 days.

Flawless flossing

  • The main benefit to flossing is that it disturbs the bacteria in the pockets that form around your teeth. This produces a healthier environment for the 40 percent of teeth surfaces that toothbrushes cannot reach.
  • Proper flossing technique includes wrapping a length of floss (18 inches is a good amount) around your middle fingers, forming a “C” shape around the contours of each tooth with the floss, using a gentle “shoeshine” motion to move the floss up and down in the crevices, and remembering to floss between ALL your teeth, even the ones in the back of your mouth.
  • There are many types of dental floss, plus great flossing alternatives that include interdental brushes and water flossing machines. Dentists recommend choosing a method that you can commit to using daily.

“Our oral health hinges on our own daily habits,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist with a practice in central Phoenix. “Learning better ways to clean our teeth and gums can result in a healthier and more appealing smile!”

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