Here, our North Sydney dentists offer five pieces of advice that can help to improve your own oral hygiene routine. Often, our patients aren't actually getting as much as possible out of their at-home oral health routine and we hope to help with that.
Professional dental cleanings are important for removing built-up tartar on your teeth, and should not be replaced by only at-home care options.
That being said, keeping up with a thorough at-home dental care regimen can help to limit the amount of tartar that has built up between appointments. Here are 5 tips for oral hygiene below can help to take your at-home care routine to its next level.
1) Use a Timer
It's quite likely that you have heard before that it's important for you to brush your teeth twice each day for at least 2 minutes each time. Many people will try to intuit how long 2 minutes is while that brush their teeth and will end up brushing for less time than they should. Using a timer or stopwatch can be a big difference-maker to making fir you brush your teeth for the correct amount of time every day.
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.
During your two minutes of brushing, aim to spend about 30 seconds brushing the fronts, backs, and chewing surfaces of all the teeth in one quadrant, before moving on to the next. This helps make sure you're giving all of your teeth equal care, and 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.
For the best results, you should pull the floss into a "C" shape around a tooth and gently move it up and down the sides of the tooth. Repeat this on each tooth by pulling your flodss into a "C" shape on the other side of the tooth and doing the same thing. Think of the "C" as hugging the tooth being flossed, curving around its form.
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 your teeth, start leaving your floss out in plain sight where you are likely to see it. Ideally, you should keep it next to your toothpaste and toothbrush. It might seem quite simple, but sometimes these small changes can have a big impact on your ability for form new habits.
5) Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly
Your toothbrush is a tool that puts in a lot of work. It will wear down pretty quickly. You should aim to replace your toothbrush every 3 months at least. If your brush starts to show wear quicker than that though, you should replace it sooner.
To help you determine when to replace your toothbrush, take a good look at it. If the bristles are bent, frayed or flattened, it’s probably time to get a new toothbrush. Many toothbrushes have bristles that are blue in colour. The blue will start to fade over time, and when it’s about half gone you should replace your toothbrush.