How to brush up on your teeth cleaning
If you’ve never really given your oral hygiene habits much thought, it might be time to learn how to clean your teeth effectively and thoroughly. If you’ve had dental treatments such as bridges, crowns and implants, it’s even more important to be sure you’re maintaining your oral health.
How to clean your teeth properly
You learned to brush your teeth when you were a child, but did you know you need to brush for at least two minutes, twice a day? And that it’s supposed to be after you’ve finished breakfast in the morning, not before you put your makeup on and pick up a coffee and muffin to eat at your desk?
If you’re too rushed in the morning, take a dental kit to work with you and clean your teeth after your morning coffee / tea and snack. If you’re too tired late at night to pay attention, brush straight after dinner and skip the late-night snacks.
If you have Invisalign, you need to clean your teeth and aligners straight after having any food or drink, except for plain water.
The importance of flossing
Did you know that nearly half the surface area of your teeth is between them? That’s why it’s so important to make sure you floss twice a day as it cleans where your toothbrush can’t. If you have a tendency to forget, floss before you brush your teeth. And remember, flossing is also great for fresh breath as it gets rid of any nasty bits of food hidden away in between your teeth.
Every day, food and plaque become trapped in the contact areas in between your teeth. Unless regularly removed, the bacteria in plaque will soon cause infection and inflammation. This increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Brushing twice daily cannot replace flossing as your toothbrush bristles don’t reach deep in between your teeth. It’s not enough to only floss every few days because plaque soon hardens into tartar or calculus and can no longer be removed by dental floss. This is the hard substance that is scraped or scaled from your teeth during regular hygiene appointments and which will continue to cause infection deep in between your teeth.
With the proper flossing techniques, you can easily clean in between your teeth in just a few minutes each day. Apple Dental can provide practical demonstrations on the correct way to floss and we can talk to you about alternative tools to try, and which include electric water flossers and interdental brushes. Just ask us about flossing during your next visit and we will be delighted to help you.
If you have a bridge or braces, you may need to use tiny dental brushes as well to get around those difficult areas. Your Apple Dental hygienist will show you what you need and discuss the best options for you.
Should I be using mouthwash?
Not everyone needs mouthwash, and it’s certainly not a substitute for cleaning your teeth or fixing bad breath. Mouthwash can do a whole range of things from making your breath smell fresh for a little while to special therapeutic mouthwashes that help with certain oral conditions. If you have halitosis (bad breath), you need to check with your dentist as you may have an underlying dental issue or need a better oral hygiene routine.
Saliva is your mouth’s natural mouthwash that protects your teeth and gums. When you aren’t producing enough saliva, your teeth can start to be attacked by acids contained in food and bacteria. If you have dry mouth issues, which can happen with certain medications, make sure you keep hydrated and speak to your dentist about available treatments.
Do You Store Your Toothbrush in the Right Place?
We hope you are already replacing your toothbrush frequently, to ensure you can brush your teeth thoroughly, but have you thought about how you store your toothbrush? Storing your toothbrush correctly can make a real difference to your oral hygiene as a damp brush is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
What to Do After You Have Finished Brushing Your Teeth
Make sure you thoroughly rinse your toothbrush to remove all toothpaste and any food debris. Store it in an upright position where the air can circulate freely. This will ensure it dries as quickly as possible, reducing the build-up of bacteria. Make sure it doesn’t touch anyone else’s toothbrush while drying as this will transfer bacteria. Never let anyone else use your toothbrush, even close family members.
Keep the Toilet Seat Down!
If your toothbrush is stored close to a toilet, ensure the lid is down before you flush. This is because the flushing action pushes out a plume of bacteria and if your brush is nearby, these bacteria will thrive on its damp surface. Ideally, it is best to store your toothbrush well away from the toilet.
Finally, make sure you see your Apple Dental practitioner every six months for a check up and clean.