We can’t overstate this: Knowing how to brush and floss properly is essential to your oral health. There’s nothing more important than brushing and flossing often – and the right way. Sure, your twice-a-year cleanings get rid of plaque, tartar and debris you’ve missed, but home care is essential to being dentally healthy every day. It’s a lesson we constantly teach and preach here at Brighton Dental San Diego.
There are many reasons brushing and flossing are essential, and here are a few of them:
To prevent tooth decay, of course. It’s proven to be the leading cause of tooth loss and the most common reason people need expensive and extensive dental work. The acids in plaque – that sticky stuff that gets on your teeth – cause the enamel to erode away. But simply brushing and flossing can remove plaque, prevent the formation of tartar and lead to healthier teeth that can last a lifetime.
To prevent gum disease too. Also called periodontal disease, this is a condition that gets worse if you don’t do something about it and can lead to tooth loss, gum recession and even bone recession and loss. And in turn, many problems throughout the body are linked to gum disease. Getting rid of plaque and tartar with a toothbrush is the best way to prevent gum disease and maintain healthy gums throughout your life.
To stop bad breath. Sometimes called halitosis, bad breath is usually caused by dirty teeth. Specifically, it’s the result of food and debris stuck in between your teeth. Brushing and, in particular, flossing can get rid of these particles. You get a cleaner, better-smelling mouth and better oral and overall health in the long run. In most cases, you don’t need a dentist to get rid of bad breath. You just need to clean your teeth.
To prevent staining. Many things contribute to staining and yellowing, including drinking coffee and tea, smoking and the natural aging process of the tooth. Many staining agents can be removed from your teeth before they become permanent – and you guessed it, brushing and flossing are the way to get rid of most stains. Proper brushing with a whitening toothpaste can even reduce existing stains over time, making your smile brighter, healthier and more youthful.
A Quick Lesson In Brushing Your Teeth
To brush your teeth properly, you need to start with the right tool. That means choosing a soft brush with rounded bristles so you don’t damage your gums. And you need to change brushes every 3 months to get rid of any bacteria that may have built up in it and to make sure the bristles of the brush you’re using are always in good shape. Be sure the head is small so that it can get everywhere it needs to go.
You may even consider using an electric toothbrush. That’s what many people do now, and the American Dental Association has provided it’s coveted seal of approval to using electric, saying that the oscillating heads of most electric brushes work better than regular brushes.
If you’re using a regular brush, be sure you hold it at a 45-degree angle to the gum line, then brush in tiny circles, making sure the brush gets against the gums to help force plaque and bacteria out of the small pockets between teeth and gums. Don’t apply too much pressure, however, because this can lead to scuffing of the teeth and abrasion of the gums. Make sure you clean all teeth thoroughly, including the back teeth. Clean your tongue too.
For more about proper brushing and details on how to floss right, visit the Properly Brushing and Flossing page of this website. And call us now for your next appointment with Dr. Woods and the gentle-dental team at Brighton Dental San Diego.