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The Tooth Issue

Enjoying a good meal starts with healthy teeth. This month, Doctor Solve brings you the tools to keep your teeth healthy, clean, and pain-free.

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Last Month
April HealthLetter
This Month
8 Old and New Oral Care Ideas
5 Bad Flossing Ideas

8 Old and New Oral Care Ideas

Man flossing his teeth.

Brushing your teeth. Sometimes annoying. Often minty. But always necessary.

Take care of your teeth and you’ll keep them whiter well into your old age. And to do that, try to keep these ideas in mind when thinking about your oral care routine:

  1. Try “teeth massaging” by rubbing toothpaste directly on your teeth in addition to brushing. Dentists agree that toothpaste fluoride protection can be enhanced with this new technique.

  2. Don’t fuss over buying an electric or manual toothbrush. Brushing technique is far more important than brush type. Still, softer bristles cause less gum irritation.

  3. Eating smaller meals more often during the day is better for weight loss, but it’s worse for your teeth! Sugary food, which includes most types of fruit, a teaspoon of sugar in tea, or that sugary shot in your specialty coffee, sticks to your teeth and creates cavities.

  4. Don’t brush right after eating. This seems strange, but food weakens your enamel. Brush right away and you will end up just brushing that enamel off! Instead, wait a full hour after eating and then brush.

  5. Spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth twice per day. Brush in round movements, rather than back and forth movements.

  6. Floss daily. Flossing not only removes the gunk from in between your teeth but prevents bad breath and cavities.

  7. Use toothpaste with fluoride in it. Fluoride not only prevents tooth decay, but can reverse the effects of decay that already happened.

  8. Snack smart. Apples, cucumbers, and celery all gently massage gums and clean the surface of your teeth. Dairy products also neutralize acids and reduce the likelihood of forming cavities . Not only that, the calcium in dairy products is great for your bones.

We only have with one mouth and one set of teeth. Genetics may play a small part in your oral health, but the rest is up to you.

By eating the right types of foods, flossing, brushing properly, and even by massaging fluoride toothpaste into your gums, you can not only prevent cavities but treat some of the oral problems that have already started.

5 Bad Flossing Ideas

Brushing teeth. Do you floss? Every day?

Dental floss is designed to get the plaque out from between your teeth and in those hard-to-reach places. Leave the plaque where it is and you can develop tartar or gum disease.

But even if you floss regularly, you might be going about it in a way that actually does your teeth harm.

Are any of these bad flossing ideas your ideas?

 

Bad Idea 1: Floss before brushing.

The best oral hygiene routine is to brush, then floss, then rince. If you floss first, you may actually push additional bacteria into the spaces between your teeth.

Then, when you rinse after flossing, you can help to rinse away any particles that may have been loosened in your mouth by flossing.

 

Bad Idea 2: Floss in the morning.

Actually, flossing should be a part of your evening oral hygiene routine. This helps to ensure that you get an entire night’s rest for your mouth to fight off tooth-decay causing bacteria.

Flossing in the morning is not necessary. Once a day is enough.

 

Bad Idea 3: Floss until your gums bleed.

Be gentle when you floss. If your gums are bleeding, you’re being too rough.

To floss properly:

  • gently slide the floss at the top of the tooth.

  • Move the floss down to the gum line and bring it under, then remove it.

  • Shift to a clean section of floss to clean between the next tooth: the previous section of floss is full of bacteria, so you don’t want to reuse it.

If you’re being gentle and your gums still bleed, it could be a sign of gum disease. See your dental hygienist to handle this.

 

Bad Idea 4: Buy only waxed/unwaxed floss because it's better.

Floss types and brands are a personal preference.

However, many people feel that waxed or 'ribbon' floss is easier to fit between their teeth and is gentler on their gums. These types of floss may be less likely to shred, but are also more expensive.

 

Bad Idea 5: Use mouthwash to replace flossing.

Mouthwash does not get the bacteria between your teeth, or just below the gum line. It may kill bacteria on dental surfaces missed by brushing and flossing; however, nothing outdoes the brushing/flossing/rinsing routine.

 

Make this your motto. Brush. Then floss. Then rince. It's a lot cheaper, and less painful, than having your teeth slowly decay in your mouth.

Also, it's a good idea to get regular cleanings from a dental hygienist. Only a professional cleaning can remove tartar and plaque that can't be reached at home.