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From Brushing to Flossing: The Do’s and Don’ts of Proper Oral Hygiene

Don'ts of Proper Oral Hygiene

Caring for your teeth and gums is much more than just maintaining a bright, photogenic smile. Proper dental care protects against tooth decay, gum diseases like periodontal disease, and more severe health issues. That’s why understanding the do’s and don’ts of brushing and flossing is critical. We’re here to guide you through the fundamental rules of oral health care and explain why regular visits to your dentist, like the dedicated team here at Adina Family Dental Care, are so important.

Do’s of Oral Care

We all know that brushing your teeth daily is an important part of taking care of your teeth, but good oral hygiene goes beyond brushing. Here are some tips to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Brush Twice a Day

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. This habit removes food particles and plaque, preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

Simply brushing isn’t enough; you need to do it properly. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and use short, gentle strokes. Make sure you brush all surfaces of your teeth – the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces. Both manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrushes are acceptable as long as you choose one with soft or medium bristles.

Use the Right Toothpaste

Always opt for a toothpaste that contains fluoride, unless otherwise recommended by your dentist. Fluoride helps in the battle against tooth decay by fighting germs that can lead to decay, and provides a protective barrier for your teeth.

Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly

You should change your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. Old, worn-out bristles are less effective at cleaning your teeth and could harbor harmful bacteria. You should also replace your toothbrush after any illness.

Floss Daily

Daily flossing is overlooked by many people, but it should be part of your daily routine, either in the morning or at night before bed. Flossing once a day helps remove food particles and plaque from areas that your toothbrush can’t reach, such as between your teeth and under the gum line.

Use dental floss or dental tape and move it back and forth in the tight spaces between teeth. Keep the floss taut as you go tooth to tooth, getting into each space and down to the gumline. 

The type of floss you choose depends on your personal preference–from traditional wax dental floss to floss picks and water flossers. For those with metal braces, floss threaders can be helpful in reaching between the wires and brackets.

Regular Dental Checkups

One of the most important factors for good dental health is visiting your dentist for preventive care. Schedule regular visits (ideally every six months) to your dentist for professional cleaning and checkups. These visits help identify potential issues before they become serious and will reduce your risk of tooth decay and oral disease. 

Drink Plenty of Water

Water continues to be the best beverage for your overall health — including oral health. Also, as a rule of thumb, it’s recommended to drink water after every meal. This can help wash out some of the negative effects of sticky and acidic foods and beverages between brushes.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Maintaining a balanced diet is crucial for your oral and overall health. Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and unsaturated fats can help keep your body and teeth healthy.

Limit Sugary and Acidic Foods

Sugar converts into acid in the mouth, which can erode the enamel of your teeth. These acids are what lead to cavities. Acidic fruits, teas, and coffee can also wear down tooth enamel. While you don’t have to avoid these foods altogether, it’s a good idea to be mindful.

Don’ts of Oral Care

Now that you know what you SHOULD do to as part of your dental care routine, let’s discuss a few things that you SHOULDN’T do.

Don’t Brush Too Hard

Aggressively brushing your teeth can wear down the enamel on the tooth surface and damage your gums, leading to sensitive teeth and gum recession. Additionally, you should avoid hard-bristled toothbrushes and opt for a soft toothbrush instead.

Don’t Skip Flossing

Even if you brush diligently, skipping flossing can leave food particles and plaque in hard-to-reach areas, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Consistent flossing is an important weapon against plaque buildup.

Don’t Ignore Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums are often a sign of mild gum disease. If your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it’s time to see a dentist before the condition progresses into something more serious.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking not only stains your teeth but also increases your risk of gum disease and oral cancer.

Don’t Neglect Your Tongue

Plaque can also build up on your tongue, leading to bad breath and other oral health problems. Brush your tongue gently or use a tongue scraper to keep it clean.

Importance of Regular Dental Visits

Regular dental visits are an essential part of your oral health routine. A professional dental cleaning removes plaque and tartar build-up that daily brushing and flossing can’t always handle. Moreover, regular check-ups can help detect oral health problems like tooth decay, gum disease, or oral cancer at an early stage when they’re easier and less costly to treat.

Missing your preventive care visits can lead to cavities and dental caries that will eventually cause tooth decay and tooth loss.

At Adina Family Dental Care, our team of professionals is dedicated to helping you maintain excellent oral health. We provide a comprehensive range of preventive services, from routine cleanings to oral cancer screenings, ensuring that your smile remains healthy and vibrant.

Ready to take your oral health to the next level? Contact Adina Family Dental Care today to schedule your next appointment. Let us help you achieve and maintain that perfect, healthy smile!