If you want good oral health, you need to brush and floss your teeth. No amount of dental cleanings at our Willow Park, TX dentist office will make up for a mouth that hasn’t seen regular tooth brushing and flossing.
But even folks who brush and floss regularly often don’t do a very good job of getting all the food debris out of their teeth. And this creates an environment hospitable to tooth decay.
Here we share some tooth brushing and flossing tips that will help you maximize the benefits of these important oral health routines.
If you’d like further advice on tooth brushing and flossing, we’re happy to demonstrate proper techniques for you! Call Texas Grins at 817-779-7111 to make an appointment.
How Does Tooth Decay Happen?
First, a step back. How does tooth decay happen? It all starts with plaque, a clear and sticky substance on your teeth and gums. When you eat, sugars in your food interact with bacteria in plaque, forming acids. The acids eat away at the hard outer layer of your teeth, which is called enamel. Plaque and bacteria in your mouth also cause gum disease.
Removing food debris from your mouth, especially from sugary foods and drinks, helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
5 Tips on Flossing Your Teeth
Of the two habits, tooth brushing and flossing, more people seem to have trouble with flossing their teeth. And it can be a little tricky. Here are five flossing tips.
1. Use Enough Floss
You’ll want to use about 18 inches of floss. Wrap most of it around a middle finger of one hand, with the rest around the middle finger of your other hand.
2. Be Gentle
With the floss anchored between your middle fingers, hold it tightly between your thumbs and forefingers and guide it between your teeth. Don’t “saw” at your teeth; just gently move the floss up and down. When you hit your gumline, curve the floss into a “C” shape against your tooth and gently ease it into the space between your gum and your tooth. You’ll move along the floss as you get it dirty.
3. Realize a Little Blood Is Normal
A little bleeding is normal when you floss your teeth if you haven’t done it for a while – at least at first. Be careful not to dig the floss into your gums. But don’t get too alarmed if your gums bleed a bit.
However, if your gums still bleed when flossing a week or two after you’ve made it a regular habit, make an appointment to visit our office. You may need a professional cleaning to remove the bacteria from your gumline.
4. Experiment Until You Find a Floss You Like
There are lots of different tooth flosses. Try a few until you find one that’s easy for you to use. They come in different thicknesses, so you may find a certain thickness works best for your teeth. And many people find waxed floss easier to get into their teeth’s nooks and crannies.
5. Try a Floss Holder
Even with the right technique, it can be tough to maneuver floss around your teeth, especially the back ones. And it’s important to get between all of your teeth. A floss holder, a small plastic device with a short handle, can help you get to those hard-to-reach spots.
5 Tips on Brushing Your Teeth
You may be surprised that some of the tooth brushing habits you’ve had since childhood are not that effective.
1. Brush for At Least Two Minutes
Most folks don’t spend enough time brushing. Make sure you brush your teeth for at least two minutes. You can use the timer on your smartphone to help keep track of the time. Another way to make sure you get in your two minutes is to invest in an electric toothbrush with a timer function.
2. Make Sure You Use the Right Toothbrush
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Hard bristles are a bad idea because they can actually damage your tooth enamel if you brush too hard. And damaged enamel makes it easier for decay to take hold.
And pick a toothbrush with a head that is sized properly for your mouth so it’ll be easier to get into all the nooks and crannies in your mouth.
3. Take It Easy on Your Teeth
You don’t need to brush that hard to remove plaque, which is soft and loose, from the surface of your teeth. And brushing too hard can actually damage your teeth. Use a gentle, circular motion.
4. Get Under the Gumline
Just under your gumline is a hospitable spot for bacteria. And bacteria under the gums can cause not only tooth decay but also gum disease. So it’s especially important to brush this area. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gumline. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush will help you reach this area.
5. Get In a Good Rinse
Make sure you rinse thoroughly after brushing your teeth. If you don’t rinse well, you’ll likely return the bacteria you’ve just cleaned from your teeth and gums right back to those areas!
Call Texas Grins at 817-779-7111 to talk to us about tooth brushing and flossing, or anything else! Or visit our Willow Park, TX dentist office.