R-E-S-P-E-C-T Your Teeth
For some reason, people take their teeth for granted. They open bottles with them. They chew ice and hard candy with them. They only give them cursory attention when brushing. And flossing… you would think it was as painful as being put on the rack! Plus, when it comes to regular checkups, many people are more likely to take their car in for its oil changes than keep regular dental checkups.
But heading off more extensive dental problems is really quite easy. All you need is a little consistent hygiene at home, and gum disease and most issues with decay will stay away. It’s simple. Spend a little time daily and avoid some serious time in the dentist’s chair later
Here’s how to brush and floss your teeth properly.
- Choose a soft-bristled brush. Brushes with firmer bristles will make your gums recede.
- The goal is to hit all the tooth surfaces. An overlapping circular motion works well, beginning in the back and working your way to the front.
- The order you choose is yours, but be sure to cover everything — molar tops, inside of all the teeth, outside of all teeth, gumline, roof of the mouth, and the tongue.
- How long? Two minutes. Come on, you can give each quarter of your mouth 30 seconds!
- Have a soft touch; overly firm brushing can wear down your enamel.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months. You’ll know when the bristles start to fan out.
- Start with 18 inches of floss wrapped around either your index your middle finger on each hand. Leave a two-inch span for the flossing.
- Go between every tooth and the back of the back molars. Hit both sides of each tooth. Go down just below the gumline with the floss.
- Flavored floss is fine. If a hint of mint will make you actually floss every day, mint away!
- Waxed, unwaxed, no difference.
- Use regular floss, dental tape, ribbon, or floss picks. Each has a little different feel, but all work well.
- If you’ve been remiss in your flossing, you’ll likely get a little bit of blood. Don’t worry, that’s normal, and it will go away as you floss regularly.