Good oral health means keeping good dental habits. Brushing, flossing, rinsing, and going to the dentist regularly are all good habits – unless they’re not. Find out how a good habit can turn out to be a bad one below.
Brushing Regularly… with an Old Toothbrush
You know the rules – brush at least twice every day to keep your teeth clean. But if your toothbrush hasn’t been replaced since the Clinton administration, you’ve got a potential problem on your hands!
Most dentists and other oral health specialists recommend changing your toothbrush about every three to four months. That’s because a toothbrush suffers wear and tear over time – especially if you’re using it the requisite two times a day. Frayed, loose, or outright missing bristles don’t clean your teeth as efficiently as new ones, so rotate your toothbrush out regularly for optimum cleaning.
Flossing… Too Hard or Too Much
Every dentist will tell you: brushing isn’t enough. Make sure you floss as well, as this helps remove food particles too ingrained for a toothbrush to reach; this will keep your teeth healthier in the long run. However, problems arise if you’re flossing too vigorously, or if you’re flossing many times a day.
The truth is that you really don’t need to floss more than once a day. As long as you’re thorough, you don’t need to keep going back after meals to reach problem areas. However, be careful that you’re not being too forceful, either – flossing too energetically can traumatize your gum tissue, causing pain and inflammation. Flossing: do it once, do it right, and move on.
Using an Oral Rinse… as an Alternative to Tooth Brushing
There’s plenty of great reasons to use an oral rinse. Fluoridated mouthwash helps cut down on cavities, while oral rinses with antibacterial properties can help diminish the effects of periodontal disease. These are all positives, but if you’re using mouthwash as an alternative to tooth brushing, you’re really not helping.
The difference is in how mouthwash works. Oral rinses are chemical, whereas tooth brushing is mechanical – and the act of getting in there with a brush and scrubbing away food particles and bacteria is always going to work better than a simple swish and spit. Mouthwash is an important oral health care supplement, not a standalone.
Seeing Your Dentist… Only When You Have a Problem
Real talk: you’ve got to go to the dentist more often. If you’re not giving your dental office a call and scheduling an appointment every six months, you’re in danger of letting possibly small problems slip through the cracks – and that means they’ll get worse, fast.
There’s no other way around it besides putting your big kid pants on and getting down there. Modern dentistry isn’t like it was when you were a kid – it’s hundreds of times less stressful, thanks to better pain management and more innovative treatment methods. It’s time to put aside your old prejudices and fears and get down to the dentist more often.
Life is Tough – Dental Care Doesn’t Have to Be
Don’t feel bad if it turns out your oral health habits – ones you thought were helpful – turned out to be less than ideal. Things are tough all over; keeping up with dental health and oral hygiene is just one facet of a highly complicated life.
Odds are you’re already on the right track when it comes to good dental health habits. It’s only natural that you might need a little help now and again, so never be afraid to call your local dental office for some much-needed help and advice.