The key to preventing oral health problems is to work hard every day to stop them from developing in the first place. While it is essential to visit the dentist every six months for checkups and exams, you must also maintain an effective and consistent routine at home. By doing so, you are taking the proper steps to have a lifetime of healthy teeth. In today’s blog, your Houston, TX dentist discusses proper brushing and flossing techniques and what to be aware of when caring for your smile at home.
Proper Brushing Is Paramount
Your parents and pediatric dentist likely stressed the importance of brushing twice a day. This is the baseline, and it is important to stick to this. In addition to this frequency, you should be doing it for at least two minutes each time — totaling four minutes every day. It is easy to assume you are hitting the two-minute mark, but you may be surprised to learn that you are likely brushing for less time if you pull out a stopwatch to time yourself. With this in mind, we recommend setting a timer on your phone for a while, so you get a feel for what two minutes feels like. Once you are used to what this duration feels like, you can put the timer away. If you use an electronic toothbrush, you can defer to its built-in timer and rest easy, knowing you are brushing for the right amount of time.
In addition to brushing enough, it is also important to replace your toothbrush regularly. You want to get a new one every 3 months or when the bristles lose their structural integrity — whichever comes first. If you are sick, be sure to throw your brush away once you feel better. Finally, you want to keep your toothbrush in a dry place where its head is touching nothing else.
Do not use a toothbrush cover, as this keeps it moist and promotes bacterial growth and mildew: gross!
You Also Need To Floss
While flossing is easy to overlook, you must do it at least once a day — if not after each meal. If you only do it once, aim to do it at night so food particles aren’t stuck in your teeth while you sleep. For the best technique, start with about 18 inches of floss, and wind most of it around your fingers, leaving a couple of inches exposed. When doing it, be sure to curve the floss around the base of each tooth and make sure you go beneath the gum line. As you go from tooth to tooth, you should use new, clean sections, so you aren’t just putting whatever you removed back in your mouth. During your next checkup, be sure to ask us for additional tips.
Contact Us For More Tips And Suggestions
Contact Sue Ellen Richardson, DDS in Houston, TX, by calling 713-796-9600 to schedule your next appointment with our team and to get more at-home tips.