April 2, 2017
With proper care your teeth and gums can stay healthy your whole life. You try to practice good oral hygiene to keep your mouth healthy, but you still might wonder if your mouth is healthy. Here are a few points to keep in mind when you’re assessing how healthy your mouth is. Healthy gums:
- Are pink, not white or red. They are are firm and resistant to movement. They fit snugly on your teeth.
- Don’t bleed or hurt when you brush or floss
At Dr. Thomas J. Feder’s dental office in Belleville, IL, we encourage you to take care of your teeth and gums between visits to us. Practicing good oral hygiene is important for many reasons. It can remove plaque, a sticky film of bacteria. If plaque is left unchecked, it can turn into a harder substance called tartar. If the tartar isn’t removed by a professional, it will lead to problems like cavities, gum disease, and maybe even tooth loss.
We’ve established that oral hygiene is important, but did you know that there’s a right way and a wrong way to care for your teeth? Here are some tips to keep in mind. If you need more guidance, Dr. Feder will be glad to help you.
Oral Hygiene Facts
If you don’t brush your teeth regularly – at least twice day and after meals – bacteria builds up in your mouth in the form of plaque. Brushing regularly can help remove plaque and even keep it from forming in the first place.
When bacteria forms in your mouth, it can cause both tooth decay and gum disease. You can develop chronic bad breath because the germs are allowed to multiply.
If you like to drink coffee, you know that it can stain your teeth. Brushing regularly helps keep your teeth from becoming stained and discolored. When you don’t brush, the elements that cause the stains are allowed to stay on your teeth.
If you neglect your teeth for too long, your gums and jaw bones can start to break down. Eventually, you could lose your teeth.
There is also a connection between poor oral health and heart disease. Studies have shown that if you have gum disease in a moderate or advanced stage, you’re at greater risk of developing heart disease. This is because the bacteria that forms in your mouth can get into your bloodstream. When that bacteria reaches your heart, it can attach itself and cause inflammation.
The Correct Way To Care For Your Teeth
To get and keep a healthy mouth, the American Dental Association recommends that you:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for about two minutes.
- Use a soft-bristled brush that will allow you to reach all areas easily and won’t irritate your gums like hard bristles can.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste.
The Right Way To Brush
Who knew that there could actually be a wrong way to brush your teeth? There is and here’s how:
- Put a small amount of fluoride toothpaste on your brush. You don’t need a lot.
- Angle your toothbrush at 45 degrees to the gums
- Gently move the brush back and forth in short strokes
- Be sure to brush the outside of your teeth as well as the backs. Brush the surfaces of your teeth where bacteria and decay are likely to settle.
- To clean the inside surfaces of your front teeth, hold your toothbrush vertically and make up and down strokes.
- Be sure to brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper.
Don’t Forget The Floss
Flossing can get the bacteria and food particles that brushing leaves behind. There are some areas, particularly those between the teeth, where a brush can’t reach. If you’ve had bridgework, you also need to be sure you floss underneath it because that’s a likely place for bacteria to gather.
Tips On What Not To Do
You might be tempted to choose a hard-bristled toothbrush. You think that it would be better at removing stains, plaque, and stubborn bits of food. However, hard bristles can damage gum tissue and tooth enamel.
Avoid hard-bristled toothbrushes for the same reason you wouldn’t use steel wool to clean delicate silverware. Although tooth enamel is tough, it can be harmed.
A soft-bristled toothbrush gets into the crevices of your teeth better because the bristles bend easier. That lets you clean places where bacteria can hide.