Good oral hygiene practices are essential for a healthy smile. Practicing these habits helps prevent problems like tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.
Oral hygiene instructions include brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing and using interdental brushes daily and rinsing with antimicrobial mouthwash. It also includes eating a balanced diet and visiting your dentist regularly.
The American Dental Association recommends daily flossing to improve oral health and prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and other health issues. Flossing is the only way to clean between your teeth and in the tight spaces that your toothbrush cannot reach. Food debris and harmful bacteria accumulate in these small gaps, making them a breeding ground for infection and inflammation.
Flossing can be difficult for some people because it requires a little extra effort and time. Fortunately, there are several different types of flossing tools that make the task easier and more effective. Some popular options include regular floss thread, spongy floss, and interdental brushes that look like mascara wands. The important thing is to pick a tool you’ll use daily and remember to clean between every tooth.
To properly floss, break off a piece of floss about 18 inches long and wind most of it around the middle fingers of one hand and the remainder of it around the thumbs and index fingers of the other hand. Then, carefully slide the strand of floss between two of your teeth and move it up and down to thoroughly clean the sides and between each tooth. When you’re finished, remove the floss and unwind a fresh section to repeat the process.
Depending on your individual needs, you can also use water, an electric flossing tool, or even a small brush that uses air to remove food debris and plaque between your teeth. Whatever tool you choose, remember to clean between your teeth each day and keep up with your daily two-minute brushing routine.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
A major goal of modern dentistry is to help patients keep their teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime, so regular oral hygiene is essential. Regular dental visits include professional cleanings, X-rays and examinations and can help prevent problems such as cavities, gum disease, bad breath (halitosis) and other serious conditions such as infections in the jaw or mouth.
In addition, dental visits provide an opportunity for dentists to check for early signs of problems like cancer and to help patients develop a better habit of brushing and flossing daily to reduce their risk. Dental hygienists also have the ability to spot issues that are not visible to the naked eye, such as cracked or chipped teeth, gum disease or the growth of wisdom teeth.
Lastly, regular dental visits offer an important opportunity to address issues that are beyond the control of patients, such as snoring or grinding teeth (bruxism), which can lead to sleep problems and other health concerns.
Visiting the dentist regularly is not always an appointment that people look forward to, but it’s an essential part of maintaining good oral health. A visit to the dentist every six months can help you avoid tooth decay, gum disease, infection and other serious oral health problems and will allow a dentist to work with you to ensure that your oral hygiene routine is effective.