If you’re like most people, at least once you’ve said to yourself: “Eh, skipping just one night of brushing won’t hurt my teeth.” Perhaps that one night has turned into several over the course of many years.
We get it — sometimes brushing and flossing at the end of a long day just feels like an obstacle before bedtime. But cleaning your teeth every night is the best way to avoid dental diseases and decay.
In honor of National Dental Hygiene Month, Airport Dental Care wants to give a shoutout to our dedicated hygiene team: Dylon Hopper, Darla Nicholson, Raymie Ross, and Amy Heiler, each of whom take care of patients day after day, helping them achieve a clean, sparkling smile and providing tips and techniques for proper dental hygiene.
To help you out with your daily routine, here are proper brushing and flossing pointers, so you can keep a healthy smile, every day!
What’s the proper technique for brushing teeth?
The American Dental Association says that the optimal way to brush your teeth is as follows:
- “Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums
- Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes
- Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth
- To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.”
Make sure you don’t brush too hard — you don’t want to risk gum erosion.
What’s the proper technique for flossing?
Most people know they need to floss at least once a day, but not everyone always gets the job done. If technique is your problem, here are a few tips from the American Dental Association to get you started:
- Use about 18 inches (a foot and a half) of floss. This will ensure you have enough for all your teeth
- Hold the floss tightly between your index fingers and thumbs.
- Place the floss at the crevice between your teeth and gently guide the floss in until it touches your gums.
- Slowly move the floss back and forth in between your teeth.
If you have braces or a permanent retainer, these tips will vary. Talk to your dental hygienist about flossing techniques that involve orthodontics!
What about mouthwash?
You don’t necessarily need mouthwash for a healthy oral hygiene routine, but it can help kill some of the bacteria you might’ve missed when brushing your teeth. For most people, a typical antiseptic mouthwash works best.
Learn more about which type of mouthwash is right for you.
What happens if you don’t brush and floss?
To keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape, you should brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. It may sound easy and harmless to “skip just this once,” but that mindset can lead to skipping more and more often, which can eventually result in a plaque buildup and tooth decay.
Over time, skipping out on brushing and flossing can lead to infections, the need for dental surgery, and even tooth death — so keep those teeth sparkling by brushing regularly!
To learn more about dental hygiene, visit our FAQ page about regular dental checkups. To schedule a cleaning or other appointment, call our Austin, Texas, office at 512-668-9912, or book your appointment online.