Good oral hygiene is the key to preventing tooth decay and gum disease, yet far too many of us don't spend enough time flossing or brushing. Thirty percent of Americans don't brush twice a day and only 40 percent are daily flossers, according to a 2014 Delta Dental survey. Our Salisbury, MD, dentist, Dr. Kathleen Geipe, shares a few guidelines that will help you improve your oral hygiene.
Don't be in a hurry
Cleaning every millimeter of your teeth is important if you want to completely remove plaque, the sticky film that causes cavities. Unfortunately, some plaque remains behind if you don't spend enough time brushing your teeth. Plan to devote at least two minutes to brushing.
Set a flossing reminder
Although you're probably a regular brusher, you may not always remember to floss. Flossing is the only way to remove plaque from the areas between your teeth. Your risk of both tooth decay and gum disease will rise if you don't remove plaque from these areas. If you tend to forget to floss, set a reminder on your phone or put a note by your bathroom sink to help you ensure that you don't neglect this important oral hygiene task.
Choose the right toothbrush
Medium toothbrushes don't clean your teeth any better than soft ones and may actually damage your tooth enamel. When you shop for a toothbrush in a Saginaw store, make sure the toothbrush package you buy is marked "soft."
Replace your brush often
Throw away your toothbrush at least every three months. If the bristles are frayed, replace it even sooner. Failing to replace your toothbrush often enough can erode your tooth enamel and damage your gums.
Most toothpastes contain fluoride, an ingredient that remineralizes weakened tooth enamel and helps prevent cavities. If you're not sure if your toothpaste does, look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal. Every toothpaste that has received the seal contains fluoride. If you use mouthwash, choose a product that contains fluoride and offers anti-cavity or anti-bacterial protection.
Good oral hygiene habits, in addition to regular dental visits, will help you protect your smile. Call our Salisbury, MD, dentist, Dr. Geipe, at (410) 543-0599 to schedule your next appointment.