Proven tactics to improve your dental hygiene

October 2, 2015

We can absolutely keep our teeth healthy for our entire lives. Here's how.

Proven tactics to improve your dental hygiene

1. Faithfully follow the basics.

We've all heard this a million times, but it's true: Brush twice a day and floss once a day.

2. Brush along to your egg timer.

  • Two minutes of brushing, with light to medium pressure, is the most effective way to remove the most plaque.
  • Longer and harder isn't better. In fact, it may damage your gums and the enamel on the sides of your teeth.
  • To prevent overzealous brushing, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and hold it like a pencil, moving it in circles rather than up and down.
  • Think "sweeping" rather than "scrubbing."

3. Invest in a floss holder.

  • Floss holders come in two varieties: a disposable one-use or the type you thread with your favourite floss.
  • These are especially helpful if you don't have the dexterity to floss the usual way.
  • Floss once a day. It'll take off plaque and leftover food that a toothbrush can't reach.
  • Be sure to rinse afterward.

4. Clean your tongue, too.

  • Use your toothbrush or a special tongue scraper to gently remove filmy material from your tongue.
  • ne study showed that adding tongue brushing to tooth-cleaning and flossing routines can reduce gum bleeding by 38 percent after just two weeks.
  • In the same study, those who didn't brush their tongues had four percent more gum bleeding.
  • Cleaning your tongue helps remove bacteria that take up residence just below the gum line, damaging gums and leading to bigger problems.
  • Walter A. Bretz, DDS, PhD, says that "gingival bleeding and halitosis are often the first signs of poor oral hygiene that may eventually lead to further periodontal problems."
  • Bretz also argues that "a good way to prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay is through at-home oral hygiene care and routine dental visits."

5. Rinse in the morning for your gums, at night for your teeth.

  • Studies show that rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash in the morning can significantly cut your risk of gum disease
  • If you've had cavities recently, have unfluoridated water at home, or have dry mouth, you should also consider using fluoride mouthwash at night.
  • Ask your dentist, too, about having fluoride gel treatments two to four times a year to further protect your pearly whites.

Dental hygiene is a matter of routine and care. Pay attention and get in the right habits, these can all reduce your chances of mouth disease and dental problems.

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