After the past 18 months, it feels as if this year’s New Year’s Resolutions could have some more thought given to them for 2022. The one thing this dumb virus hasn’t turned upside down is the need to take care of your teeth. But did you make a New Year’s Resolution to take better care of your teeth? Of course not! We’ve brushed our teeth for so long that we take their hygiene for granted. There we stand, in front of our sinks, zoning out while haphazardly brushing around our collective mouths. Flossing? Bah. Our teeth are fine.
Yet we get stressed out when we go past the arbitrary oil change mileage on the sticker in the car windshield.
We really need to give our teeth a little more respect. Your car and its oil change? You can always buy another. But your teeth…take care of them and they’ll keep on chomping away for the rest of your life. Forget about them and treat their hygiene indifferently at your own risk. Your future can be filled with gum disease, tooth extractions, and other dental health nightmares.
But healthy teeth start at home. From your pals at Gentle Dental, here’s our take on what you should be doing at home to keep your teeth healthy and happy.
OK, how long are you supposed to brush?
Two minutes, twice daily. That’s how much you should brush. If you’re a cursory brusher, two minutes can seem like an eternity, but that’s only 30 seconds per quarter. Use a soft-bristled brush (bristles that are too stiff can damage your tooth enamel and make your gums recede) and use gentle pressure. Here’s how to brush teeth properly:
- Position your tooth brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Using small, circular strokes, gently brush the teeth while making sure that the bristles are also touching the gums. Use overlapping circles to cover all the tooth surfaces.
- When brushing, make sure the inner, outer, and biting surfaces of the teeth are included.
- Using the tip of the brush, clean the inner portion of your front teeth.
- It is important to brush the tongue as well to remove existing bacteria and to freshen up your breath. Hit the pockets on the sides of your tongue, too. And don’t miss the roof of your mouth.
Electric toothbrushes are great, but not required as long as you brush diligently. Use a toothpaste with fluoride. Whitening toothpastes with fluoride do whiten teeth somewhat, although nothing like a professional whitening at Gentle Dental.
What is the correct way of flossing my teeth?
Flossing is the great differentiator in home hygiene. Everyone tells Drs. Butkofski and Strober and our hygienists they floss, but once every month or so doesn’t count! You should floss between your teeth once daily. Flossing has two purposes. It removes food debris and plaque from between the teeth, and it stimulates the gums. Follow these steps to properly floss your teeth:
- Use a piece around 18 inches long. Wrap the thread around your middle fingers and leave 2 inches of thread in between your fingers.
- Use your thumbs and forefingers to gently insert the floss in between each tooth and clean the area following a sawing motion.
- Hold the floss in a “C” shape on each tooth as well as under the gumline. Move the thread up and down to clean every side of the tooth.
If you want more convenience, you can purchase floss holders. Flavored floss? If you like mint-flavored floss who and it will make you floss regularly, then by all means go with it!
Make better home oral hygiene a New Year’s Resolution for 2022. It’s a resolution you can actually achieve, not like the “Read 50 books this year” or “Go to the gym three times a week.” Call Gentle Dental to help us keep your resolution on track, (732) 549-5660.