Now that we’re finally putting this darn virus in the rear-view mirror, most of us have spent far more time hanging around the house over the past 16 months than we had in years, maybe ever. It contributed to shortages of new couches and computers as everyone upgraded their stuff.
Did the same happen with your oral hygiene? Did you take inventory of how you take care of your teeth and vow to do a better job?
Dr. Smith and Dr. Feng hope so. After all, we’re big on preventive dentistry at Pound Ridge, and home hygiene is simple, taking about four and a half minutes, and it’s the sure way to prevent all sorts of dental problems. Just about everything bad, from root canals to gum disease, can be prevented with some diligent home prevention.
Let’s go over the basics. And, no, we’re not doing it on a Zoom call!
What’s the proper way of brushing my teeth?
Twice daily is the proper amount for brushing your teeth, although you can do it three times if you want to keep your breath fresh for a meeting or something. Use a soft-bristled brush (bristles that are too stiff can damage your tooth enamel and make your gums recede) and use gentle pressure. Better yet, use an Oral B or other electric toothbrush. Over the past few years the ADA has approved these based on research showing they are more effective for most people. Here’s a list of all the ADA approved electric toothbrushes. Regardless of your type of toothbrush, you should brush for around two minutes, 30 seconds per quarter of your mouth. Here’s how to brush teeth properly:
- Position your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Using small, circular strokes, gently brush the teeth while making sure that the bristles are also touching the gums. Use overlapping circles to cover all the tooth surfaces.
- When brushing, make sure the inner, outer, and biting surfaces of the teeth are included.
- Using the tip of the brush, clean the inner portion of your front teeth.
- It is important to brush the tongue as well to remove existing bacteria and to freshen up your breath. Hit the pockets on the sides of your tongue, too. And don’t miss the roof of your mouth.
What is the correct way of flossing my teeth?
You should floss between your teeth once daily. Flossing has two purposes. It removes food debris and plaque from between the teeth, and it stimulates the gums. Follow these steps to properly floss your teeth:
- Use a piece around 18 inches long. Wrap the thread around your middle fingers and leave 2 inches of thread in between your fingers.
- Use your thumbs and forefingers to gently insert the floss in between each tooth and clean the area using a sawing motion.
- Hold the floss in a “C” shape on each tooth as well as under the gumline. Move the thread up and down to clean every side of the tooth.
If you want more convenience, you can purchase floss holders. Flavored floss? If you like cinnamon and cinnamon-flavored floss will make you floss regularly, then we say “Go for it!”
There, now you’re armed for a post-COVID of healthy, happy teeth. And when it’s time for your twice-yearly professional cleanings and exams, give us a call at Pound Ridge, (914) 764-3540, to make an appointment.