Brushing and flossing are important parts of your oral hygiene routine, but there are other essential elements as well. To best maintain your oral health and help keep your teeth and gums disease-free, follow the steps outlined by our Ottawa dentists below.
Brushing your teeth is probably the most important thing you can do every day to maintain your oral health. Brush your teeth two or three times a day, for two minutes at a time.
For ideal results, brush each “quadrant” of your teeth (upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left) for 30 seconds. Carefully brush all the exposed surfaces of your teeth, including the fronts, backs and biting surfaces, of each tooth.
Tip: Try an Electric Toothbrush
An electric toothbrush makes it easier to clean your teeth. They require less effort than manual brushes since they perform the correct brushing movement for you. Choose an electric toothbrush with a round, rotating head, as this makes the ideal circular brushing motion.
In addition, because the head is quite small, it’s easier to clean those awkward, hard-to-reach spots, like your back molars, and the backs of your front teeth.
You should floss at least once a day, preferably at night before bed. Flossing dislodges food debris and build-up from between your teeth, in the places your toothbrush can’t reach.
Insert the floss between two teeth and run it up and down the side of each, pulling it into a “c” shape in both directions. Proceed slowly and thoroughly, and be sure to floss between every two teeth.
Professional Dental Cleanings & Check-ups
Visiting the dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and check-up is essential to maintaining oral health.
Your dentist has the expertise and tools required to remove plaque and tartar build-up that you can't remove yourself with brushing and flossing.
Your dentist will also be able to identify dental problems in the beginning stages if they see you often enough, and treat them before they get worse. Oral health problems like cavities, gum disease and even tumours, cysts and other abnormalities are often not noticeable to the untrained eye in their early stages, so it's important to get your mouth evaluated regularly by a dental professional.
Eating a healthy diet that’s rich in calcium helps keep your teeth healthy from the inside out. Restrict consumption of sugars and starches, because oral bacteria thrive on these.
Staying hydrated can help prevent cavities! Drinking plenty of water will help you maintain a sufficient saliva flow, and saliva washes away the food particles that collect on your teeth and allow bacteria to multiply.
Supplementary Hygiene Aids
Oral hygiene aids are additions to your brushing and flossing routine. Good examples of supplementary hygiene aids include tongue cleaners, mouthwash, interdental cleaners, and oral irrigators.
These aids can help you keep your breath fresh, and prevent plaque from building up between brushing and flossing sessions. While they are not sufficient replacements for a thorough brushing and flossing routine, they can help improve it.