There are some myths out there that can misguide people about their oral health, including the correct way for flossing and tooth brushing. Our Edmonton dentists explain how to properly brush, floss and care for your teeth.
There are myths and misinformation out there about almost everything, including how to care for your oral health and the finer points of brushing and flossing your teeth. Our dentists often find that many people have heard varying advice about oral hygiene, or have picked up bad habits from when they were learning how to care for their teeth and inadvertently passed them onto their children. That said, we understand that everyone wants a bright, white smile - and to keep their natural teeth healthy for as long as possible.
At Azarko Dental Group, one of our team's highest priorities is client education. Did you know that there's a right way and a wrong way to tooth brush? We'd like to take the opportunity to answer some common questions and clear up some myths today.
How many times a day should I brush?
Brushing and flossing are two of the most important things you can do to preserve your oral health, and they must be done frequently enough to keep cavities and dental disease at bay. The Canadian Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day, in addition to attending your regular dental exam.
How to Tooth Brush
When it comes to brushing, using the correct technique can make the difference between properly brushing away plaque and leaving it to collect on your teeth and cause problems such as cavities. Contrary to popular belief, there's more to brushing than simply scrubbing a brush across your teeth. Here are the steps you should take to brush properly:
Your toothbrush should be sized and shaped appropriately, so it will reach all the way to your back teeth. Choose a soft brush with round bristles, since a brush with bristles that are too firm are more likely to wear away gums and tooth enamel, even if they remove slightly more plaque than soft-bristled brushes.
Depending on your oral care needs and the sensitivity of your teeth, a soft brush may be better for you. You might also speak to your dentist about options such as an electric toothbrush.
Placing your bristles at the area where your teeth meet your gums, use gentle circles and begin brushing at a 45-degree angle to the teeth. Brush gently and don't scrub, since years of too-hard brushing can lead to gum recession.
Clean the surfaces of each tooth. Take time to brush the top of each tooth, the cheek side and tongue side before flossing. Then, brush your tongue.
As a rule, aim to brush thoroughly for two to three minutes (you can time yourself to make sure you're spending enough time on the task).
How many times a day should I floss?
Flossing your teeth is an essential task that should be done at least once a day as part of your oral hygiene routine, says the Canadian Dental Association.
How to Floss
One of the main benefits of flossing your teeth is that you'll prevent gum disease and other oral health issues by removing bacteria and plaque from areas you're unable to reach with your toothbrush . If we only brush and don't floss, we miss more than a third of the tooth surface.
Wrap a string of floss about the length of your arm around your middle fingers, allowing about two inches between your hands. Guide the floss between your teeth with your index fingers.
Make a "C" shape with the floss while sliding it between your teeth, around the base of each tooth and gently beneath the gumline. Swipe the floss from the base of the tooth to its tip two to three times.
Floss both sides of each tooth, including the bacs of the last molars. Remember to use a new area of floss each time you switch teeth.
Is it okay to use store-bought teeth whitening?
Over-the-counter teeth whitening solutions are available in many stores and pharmacies, however the whitening solutions used in these will not be as strong as the professional or at-home teeth whitening options offered by your dentist. Plus, with the options, your dentist offers you'll have supervision during the process and the ability to address questions or concerns with them as you go.
How often should I replace my toothbrush?
Our dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every three months, or when the bristles begin to fray - whichever happens sooner.
How can my dentist help me stay on track with oral hygiene?
Even if you've been brushing or flossing for years, attending your regular dental hygiene appointments will help you stay on top of your oral hygiene routine and give your dentist an opportunity to spot any areas of your mouth that have been neglected. These visits are also your chance to address any questions or concerns you might have about your oral health.