Many individuals have a consistent morning and night-time routine that is automatically adhered to without thought on a daily basis. Some shower only at night and others only in the morning, some have to apply and remove makeup, some have strict moisturizing routines, but all must practice good oral care. We only get one set of grown-up teeth, and it is important to care for the ones we have and keep them healthy and strong.
It is a good idea to start building these positive habits beginning with the first tooth. If you’re a parent, make sure that you only brush baby’s teeth with very soft objects made for brushing. A finger brush or even a washcloth or gauze pad are recommended for the first little tooth that peeks through. As your baby grows into a toddler, he or she will want to give brushing a try for themselves. This is a good thing for them to do, but make sure to follow up with a more thorough brushing before bed time.
If your little one is not a big fan of brushing, distraction is a good idea to get them through it. Sing or play one of their favorite songs and tell them that they have to brush through the song, then they are done. Or brush along with them, and show them how to do it and that it really isn’t so terrible after all. Make it something fun by being creative. Make up your own song or special silly dance that goes along with oral care and even get a fun character toothbrush to add to the enjoyment.
As an adult, technique becomes more important than the entertainment factor. Choosing the right toothbrush to get the job done is one of the first things to consider about maintaining good oral health. According to the International Dental Health Association, most adults need small or medium sized brushes to best reach into smaller areas of the mouth where food particles get stuck. Toothpaste choice is also important to overall oral health. Make sure to choose one with enough fluoride to properly clean but not too much that it could cause harm. The American Dental Association (ADA) places seals on the toothpastes the organization recommends to consumers, and the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) practices the same process.
With the right tools to keep your teeth healthy, it is now important to go through proper cleaning techniques. For example, the recommended amount of brushing is twice per day for two minutes each time and not within a 30-minute window of eating. To make sure that you are brushing for the full two minutes, set a timer on your phone or watch a two-minute video online while brushing your teeth. Hold the brush at a 45 degree angle to your teeth and brush in short, back and forth motions across your teeth. Then use short vertical strokes to clean the backs of your teeth.
The work is not done at brushing, though. Flossing between teeth is also necessary to rid the mouth of bacteria. The trick to flossing is to take an 18-inch piece of floss that allows you to use a new piece every few teeth to keep from pushing bacteria back into other sections of the mouth as you floss. Practice making a “c” shape by wrapping the floss around the teeth slightly and rubbing it against the side of the tooth to help remove the bacteria best.
Even after you’ve brushed and flossed using the proper techniques, there are still small places that bacteria can hide. Mouthwash is an effective way to really ensure that the germs and bacteria are washed away, and the mouth is as healthy as can be.
Maintaining overall oral health is an important piece to the health and wellness puzzle. By practicing proper technique and using the right tools of the trade, your smile can be both happy and healthy.