In today's post, our Dartmouth dentists provide 5 tips to help provide our patients with improved at-home oral hygiene routines. Often, our patients aren't getting the most out of their at-home care, so this post is here to help.
Professional dental cleanings are important for removing built-up tartar on your teeth, and should not be replaced by only at-home care options.
With that being said, keeping a comprehensive at-home dental care routine can help to limit the buildup of tartar between appointments. The following 5 tips for oral hygiene below can help you to take your at-home oral care routine to the next level.
1) Use a Timer
It is beyond likely that you've heard before that it is important to brush your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time. Many people attempt to intuit how long 2 minutes is while brushing their teeth and end up under brushing.
If you use a stopwatch or a timer, like one found d in most smartphones, you can start to get a concrete sense of exactly how long you should be brushing your teeth and ensure you are doing it for long enough each day.
Bonus tip: You can also try an electric toothbrush. Particularly useful are electric toothbrushes that have built-in timers and buzz or vibrate after they’ve been running for two minutes.
2) When Brushing, Think of Your Mouth as Having Four Quadrants.
A useful exercise for visualizing your teeth during brushing is to divide your upper and lower jaws into four equal sections mentally: upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right.
During the two minutes of brushing your teeth, try to spend about 30 seconds brushing the front, back and chewing surfaces of all teeth in one quadrant of your smile before moving on to the next one. This will help to make sure that you are giving all of your teeth equal care and aren't accidentally neglecting some teeth for others.
3) Try Pulling Your Floss into a C-Shape
Flossing is an important aspect of good oral hygiene. To get the most out of your flossing, you generally don’t want to just saw the floss up and down between your teeth a couple of times.
For the best results, you should pull your floss into a "C" shape around your tooth and gently move it up and down the side. Repeat these steps with each other tooth by pulling your floss into the same shape and moving it in the opposite direction. Think of the C as hugging the tooth being flossed, curving around its form.
This will help ensure that each tooth gets a careful cleaning.
4) Keep Your Floss in Plain Sight
If you tend to forget to floss after brushing your teeth, you’re letting bacteria and food particles linger in those tight areas. This can result in tooth decay and bad breath over time, so it really is important to try to remember.
If you have trouble remembering to floss, start leaving your floss out in plain sight, somewhere you’re sure to see it. Ideally, keep it right next to your toothpaste and toothbrush. It might seem overly simple, but sometimes little changes like this can have a massive impact on your ability to develop new habits.
5) Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly
Your toothbrush is a hardworking tool, and it will begin to wear down pretty quickly. You should replace your toothbrush every three months at a minimum, but more frequently if it starts to show wear sooner.
To help you sort out when to replace your toothbrush. take a good look at its bristles. If they are frayed, bent or flattened, it may be time to get a new toothbrush. Many toothbrushes are made with blue bristles that fade over time. When you notice the blue is about halfway gone, it's time to replace your toothbrush.