Invest in a Good Electric Toothbrush
A good electric toothbrush will immediately improve your dental health. While at the store you will likely be able to tell which electric toothbrushes are superior. Look for brands “Sonicare” and “Oral-B” when in the dental aisle. They will cost more but they will do a much better job and last you longer. Your dentist may even have already slipped you a coupon for $10 off one of these at a recent check-up.
The key to these is that they are guaranteed to improve your brushing and oral health. And they will do this quite quickly too. Another benefit is that they have a timer which sets the toothbrush to work for 2 minutes. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing for 2 minutes twice daily, so this will help keep you honest with timing for brushing.
Floss Every Single Day
Never skip a day of flossing. No if’s, and’s, or but’s.
Flossing helps to prevent gum disease, to freshen your breath, and also will prevent cavities too.
For most people it is a matter of finding a convenient time to floss because in order to do it properly it requires some attention to detail. I often tell patients that in the morning you may be in a hurry, and at night you might be too tired.
The time that works for me is right after I eat lunch. Maybe that could also work for you, but see what works with your schedule, and just do that.
Patients will often ask if they should floss then brush, or brush first then floss. According to the ADA this actually does not even matter! The most important thing is that you are flossing every day and brushing twice a day, and doing this with the proper technique.
Crooked or crowded teeth can often make flossing difficult. Treatments like Invisalign are a huge help in resolving this issue.
Ask your dentist and dental hygienist for tips on how to floss properly. You could even watch a YouTube video on flossing if you are unsure if you are doing it the right way.
Also, avoid using the flossers that are disposable. These ones you usually see on checkout lines at the grocery store and convenience store. These end up costing patients more money and also do not do as good of a job as traditional floss.
Brush your Tongue
Make sure to brush your tongue each time that you are brushing your teeth. The same bacteria that causes gum disease and cavities will start to build-up on your tongue in addition to your teeth and your gums. Not only is this gross, but this is the number one cause of bad breath.
By brushing your tongue you can get rid of bad breath. The tricky part is that the bacteria like to hide on the most posterior aspect of the tongue so it will usually stimulate the gag reflex. Here are some tips to help you brush your tongue and avoid gagging:
- Use your left hand and make a fist and grip the toothbrush tightly. For some reason by doing this, the gag reflex is suppressed. We aren’t sure why but if it helps, use it.
- While brushing your tongue, concentrate on exhaling out of your mouth
- Use motions that go side to side rather than back and forth with the brush
These tips will help you brush your tongue with your tooth brush. Keep in mind that at the convenience store they also sell a tool known as a tongue scraper. You will find it in the dental aisle and many patients find that using them works and they avoid the gag reflex entirely. Another tool you can try is a piece of dental floss to scrape the bacteria off. Use whatever tool works, as long as you are doing it daily.
We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment! If you ever have any questions, do not hesitate to ask us.