Dental hygiene: Taking proper care of teeth and gums

Keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy is a daily commitment. It may seem like a lot of work, but taking proper care of your mouth can save you a lot of pain and unnecessary medical fees down the road. Make sure you are doing all you can by following this simple guide.

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Brushing

You probably already know that brushing is a key component of dental hygiene. But do you know whether you are doing it correctly? To take proper care of your teeth and gums, you should be using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Hard bristles can damage your gums, so save those for housecleaning rather than using them on the sensitive areas of your mouth. Beginning with your back molars, place the soft bristles on your gum line. Gently brush the bristles over the teeth toward the centre of your mouth. Repeat this two more times, then move the brush to the next tooth and do the same. Repeat this process over your entire mouth, in the front and back. Brushing in this motion rather than back and forth will help reduce your chances of gum recession and is better at removing plaque. Make sure you brush at least twice a day — when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed at night.

Flossing

Think of it this way: Every time you brush your teeth, you should also floss. This is simply because there is no way for your toothbrush to get to certain areas that a piece of floss can reach. So if you aren’t flossing, you are leaving some parts of your mouth in serious danger of bacteria and plaque buildup. When flossing, make sure you pull the floss between each pair of teeth. Scrape along the sides of your teeth and get down right into your gum line. This is the part most likely to collect bacteria and plaque, so don’t miss it!

Regular checkups

You may feel that by brushing and flossing twice a day, you are doing enough to keep your teeth healthy. Although daily care is undoubtedly important, so is seeing your dental professional on a regular basis. Your age and dental history may dictate how frequently you need to visit your dentist, but as a general rule, you should be heading in for a cleaning and checkup every six months. It may seem like a costly endeavour that you’d rather avoid, but doing so could save you a lot of money in dental issues down the road. Your hygienist can remove unwanted plaque in a way that your own brushing and flossing simply can’t achieve. This can prevent cavities and gum disease. In addition, having your dentist take a look at your mouth and examine your X-rays could stop a serious mouth issue in its tracks. And if you have trouble remembering to book appointments, simply ask your dentist’s secretary to give you a call when your next checkup comes due. Seeing your dentist at least once a year is crucial to the well-being of your mouth, so don’t put it off any longer!

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