Visiting the dentist regularly is important. And it’s equally important to pair this with proper oral hygiene at home, so you can keep your teeth and gums as healthy as can be.
So, how do you care for your teeth and gums? It's really as easy as 1-2-3:
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Floss once daily
- Use a fluoride mouthwash
Take note that you not only need to do these regularly, you need to do these properly as well.
Proper oral hygiene prevents tooth decay and helps remove plaque and bacteria, and ultimately prevents gum disease.
How To Brush Your Teeth Properly
We recommend brushing your teeth after every meal - or once after breakfast and again before you go to sleep at night.
Not brushing your teeth properly can lead to dental problems such as gum recession. Gum recession is when you brush your teeth too hard which causes your gums to deteriorate and exposes more of your teeth.
We recommend that you replace your toothbrush every three months.
Here’s how to brush your teeth with the proper techniques according to the Canadian Dental Association (CDA):
- Start by positioning your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your teeth. Brush at an up-and-down motion (never brush sideways or from left to right!), and do so gently with a circular motion.
- Make sure you clean every surface of each tooth - front, back and top.
- Brush your teeth for at least two minutes.
- Reverse your brushing pattern every now and then. Because most people brush their teeth the same way every single time, they usually miss the same spots. Changing up the pattern can prevent this from happening (eg. instead of starting on the left side of your teeth, try brushing from the right side).
- It’s important to use a soft brush with rounded bristles. Ask your dentist for any recommendations on what’s best to use for your teeth.
- Lastly, don’t forget to brush your tongue!
Are you using an electric toothbrush? The technique is just a little different:
- Gently hold your toothbrush at a 45-angle against your teeth. Hold that position for 3-seconds for each surface of your tooth.
- DO NOT move your toothbrush in the same up-and-down motion you would do with a regular toothbrush. This can cause gum recession from brushing your teeth too hard.
How to Floss Your Teeth Properly
It’s essential to floss your teeth at least once daily. Dental floss reaches those hard to reach spaces between your teeth and close to your gums.
Did you know that when you skip flossing, you miss cleaning one-third of your teeth?
Why is flossing important? When left uncleaned, food particles turn into plaque. Plaque that’s left uncleaned can harden and turn into tartar. And flossing helps to prevent that from happening.
Here’s how to floss your teeth according to the Canadian Dental Association:
- Cut a piece of floss that measures from your hand to shoulder. Then, wrap one end of the floss around your middle and index fingers, leaving two inches in between.
- Gently slide the floss between your teeth, forming a “C” shape motion against the side of the tooth and then the base of the tooth and under the gumline. Wipe the side of your tooth from the tip to the base and repeat two to three times.
- Make sure that you floss both sides of every tooth, including the back of your last molars. Unwrap the floss after every tooth to ensure that you’re using a clean portion of the floss for each side.
- Lastly, we recommend brushing your teeth after you floss – that is more effective at preventing tooth decay and gum disease than brushing before flossing because it cleans the debris removed by the floss.
If you are new to the flossing game, your gums are very likely to bleed. Depending on the person, the bleeding usually stops after a few days of regular flossing. And if the bleeding doesn't stop, make sure that you schedule an appointment with your dentist right away to check for gum disease.