Hello from home!
Are you refraining from visiting the dentist for cleanings and elective procedures at the moment? Have no fear, here are some tips for daily oral care at home to make sure your mouth stays healthy during this quarantine period and beyond! These tips may seem simple, but they make the world of difference for your oral health!
Don’t Be Lazy – Don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth!
Now more than ever, you may be tempted to just skip brushing your teeth after that last episode of your favorite Netflix show, or after putting your last child to bed. The food that you eat throughout the day leaves particles on your teeth that bacteria feed on. Saliva helps act as a defense mechanism against these bacteria, neutralizes the acid level in your mouth, and can help wash away some remaining food; however, saliva production decreases at night. So, if you don’t remove these food particles before sleeping, the bacteria have all night to feed and damage your teeth. Don’t make this a habit, because over time, this damage can add up!!
Brush for TWO minutes!
Often times individuals, especially kids, brush for a few seconds so they can feel like they’ve “brushed their teeth.” Brushing for a full two minutes helps ensure that you are covering all the surfaces you can of all the teeth adequately – it’s been studied! Brushing less than two minutes means that you likely missed some spots and that plaque will harden and turn to tartar. Once it hardens, it is no longer able to be removed with your toothbrush; it needs a dental professional to scrape it off. Try to minimize this! You can do it! Listen to your favorite song. Brush with your spouse or kids to hold yourselves accountable for the full 2 minutes. Make sure you spend the same time and effort on all 4 quadrants of the mouth. Be sure to include not only the front side of your teeth, but also the back sides and biting surfaces of teeth.
Floss Like a Boss!
While brushing cleans the front, back, and biting surfaces, it cannot reach what we call the interproximal surfaces, or surfaces in-between the teeth. This is where a lot of cavities start. It is important to use the proper technique, known as the C-shaped flossing method or hugging method. Many people just pop the floss up and down, but that does not actually clean the interproximal surfaces, also known as the surfaces between your teeth. Once you insert the floss in between two teeth, you actually want to make a C or hug each tooth to grab the plaque off of the tooth surface. If you have any questions about this, please be sure to ask someone on our team next time you are at the office! Finally, be sure to use a new, clean section of floss as you move from tooth to tooth, otherwise you are just moving plaque from one area to another, and that defeats the purpose!