When it comes to tooth decay, and any other oral health related issues, proper oral hygiene is the number one defense against it. By having a good daily oral hygiene practice you can significantly reduce the amount of plaque that builds up on your teeth, effectively eliminating tooth decaying acids in your mouth.
So what exactly does it mean to have good oral hygiene?
Most people think that brushing twice a day is good enough. And although it is a good practice, there is a lot more that you can do to keep your mouth healthy and clean. On this page you will find useful info on how you can achieve an optimal level of oral hygiene to help prevent tooth decay.
Tooth Brushing Tips
As long as we can minimize the buildup of plaque and tartar on our teeth, tooth decaying acids won’t stand a chance. The best way to do this is by brushing your teeth at least twice a day. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your tooth brushing:
- Use a soft-bristle tooth brush to help keep your gums healthy. To get the best results, use a battery powered tooth brush which are considered to be the best for removing plaque and maintaining healthy gums.
- Use fluoride toothpaste to aide with the re-mineralization of any lost tooth enamel.
- Start with the brush on your gums at an angle and brush toward the teeth. This will ensure that you remove plaque stuck between your teeth and gums while also giving your gums a gentle massage. Don’t forget to also brush the top of your teeth to remove any plaque buildup in the crevices of your molars as well.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time. The best routine is to brush after breakfast and before you go to sleep. If you can, try to also brush after lunch to remove any sugars in your mouth.
- Thoroughly rinse your tooth brush under water after every use and place it in an upright position to allow it to air dry.
- Replace your tooth brush, or brush head for electric tooth brushes, whenever the bristles look worn out. A good benchmark is every 3 to 4 months.
Tooth Flossing Tips
We’ve all heard it from our dentist at some point; flossing your teeth is just as important as brushing. And it truly is. Flossing allows us to clean in between our teeth, an area of the mouth that cannot be reach by a toothbrush. This way we can ensure to remove plaque buildup from those areas, further preventing tooth decaying acids to accumulate.
Follow these tips to get the most out of your flossing routine:
- Break off a long strand of tooth floss, anywhere from 12″ to 18″ in length, wrapping the majority of it around the middle finger of one hand and the opposite end around the middle finger of the other hand. Leave about 4″ of floss between both hands to be able to reach into your mouth.
- Gently rub the floss back and forth between each tooth, slowly guiding it to your gum line. Abruptly snapping it to your gum may cause an injury to your gum tissue.
- In a slow rubbing motion, gently massage the gum tissue and move the floss up and down between each tooth trying to remove any debris that may be stuck on the tooth.
- As you go from one tooth to the next, unwind the floss so each tooth gets a clean piece of it.
- Floss at least once a day, best done in the evening to remove any plaque or food debris that has accumulate between your teeth during the day.
If you do not like flossing, or are not capable of doing it, try using a device that achieves a similar effect such as an inter-dental brush, water flosser or silicone plaque remover.
Additional Oral Hygiene Tips
Brushing and flossing are definitely the two most important things you need to do to ensure good oral health and avoid tooth decay. To maintain an even higher level of oral health, there are some additional things you can add to your oral hygiene routine, some of which are recommended by the Canadian Dental Association. These include:
- Use a fluoridated mouth wash to further help keep your gums clean and aide in the re-mineralization process.
- Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco which can severely damage your gums and teeth
- Visit a dentist regularly, meaning at least twice a year. Dentists can see things you can’t and have specialized tools to remove any tartar build up on your teeth, making it more difficult for tooth decay to occur.