Brushing and flossing can help control plaque and gum disease. Food debris and bacteria combine with saliva on a daily basis to form a sticky film, called plaque, on our teeth and gums. If not removed several times a day, plaque can harden and begin to destroy the gums and teeth and to develop periodontal (gum) disease. Brushing and flossing regularly, along with the regular use of other dental aids, can stop the continuous growth of plaque.
Brush at least twice a day. The most important is before bedtime. The dental industry is booming with technology. Bristle designs help to get the right 45-degree angle, and help the brush to reach hidden areas of the mouth. Certain effective methods of brushing your teeth include:
Brush all surfaces of the teeth: the outer, the inner and the biting surface. Also, use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside of the front teeth. Brush the entire tongue, but especially at the back of the throat, where typically a lot of bacteria accumulate.
Electric toothbrushes have been designed to mimic the action normally required by the wrist; so simply holding the toothbrush over each area and letting the brush do the work can make brushing a joy, and can increase your desire to brush often.
Unfortunately, there is no way the bristles of a toothbrush can reach areas between teeth, or under the gum line; therefore flossing is a must. This most effective companion to brushing helps complete the coverage, and prevents the buildup of plaque and bacteria colonies. It also prevents long-term damage to the gums, teeth and bone.
Take 12-16 inches (30-40 cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5 cm) of floss between your hands. Using your thumbs and fingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion. Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gum line. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth. Floss holders can help if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
As important as rinsing is to your dental health, it does not have to be limited to just rinsing after brushing, or after meals. Any time during the day — such as when you snack — drinking water or simply swishing water around in your mouth can do wonders to help maintain a clean mouth.