Our Ottawa dentists offer 5 tips for improving your at-home oral hygiene routine in today's post. Our patients frequently do not get the most out of their at-home dental 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 said, keeping a thorough at-home care regimen can help limit the build of that tartar between appointments significantly. These 5 tips for oral hygiene below can help take your at-home 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. Using a stopwatch or timer, like the one found in most smartphones, can be the difference-maker in ensuring you brush for the correct amount of time.
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.
Brush the fronts, backs, and chewing surfaces of all the teeth in one quadrant for about 30 seconds before moving on to the next during your two minutes of brushing. This ensures that you are treating all of your teeth equally and are not accidentally neglecting some teeth in favour of 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.
To achieve the best results, wrap the floss around a tooth in a c-shape and gently move it up and down the sides. Then, on the opposite tooth, repeat the procedure by pulling your floss into a c-shape in the opposite direction. Consider the C to be hugging the tooth being flossed, curving around its shape.
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, place your floss in a visible location where you will see it. Keep it near your toothpaste and toothbrush, if possible. It may appear overly simple, but small changes like this can have a big impact on your ability to form 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.
Examine your toothbrush to determine when it should be replaced. If the bristles are bent, frayed, or flattened, it's time to replace your toothbrush. Blue bristles are commonly found on toothbrushes. The blue will fade over time, and you should replace your toothbrush when it's about half gone.