Oral hygiene is a great investment, as our teeth can last us a lifetime if we take proper care of them and visit our dentist in Richmond regularly. The investment lies in taking the time every day to brush and floss to ensure our teeth and gums stay healthy.
Here are some good habits to learn and invest in:
1. Most people spend less than 30 seconds brushing their teeth. It takes at least two to three minutes to brush our teeth properly.
2. Brush your teeth twice a day. The most important brush is before we go to sleep.
3. The best way to brush your teeth is to place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. Then move the brush in small circular movements on all surfaces of the teeth. Brush the upper and lower surface keeping the toothbrush at an angle against the gum line. The same method is used on the inside of all teeth. The chewing surface must be brushed too, and turning the brush vertically, repeating small circular strokes will clean the inside of the front teeth.
4. Always remember to brush your tongue for a fresh breath, and to remove bacteria from the mouth.
5. Use toothpaste with fluoride, as fluoride hardens the enamel to protect your teeth from decay.
6. Floss daily to reduce the risk of gum disease, not just to dislodge food stuck between your teeth. Use 30-45 cm of floss. Slip the floss between the teeth as far as it will go, using sawing actions going forward and backwards 8-10 times. Floss between each two teeth. Again, the most important time to floss is before bedtime. You can floss before or after brushing. Avoid toothpicks to remove trapped food as they could damage gums, which could lead to infections.
7. Avoid acidic drinks such as soft drinks, fruit juices and cordials. Fruit acids soften teeth, and dissolve the minerals in the enamel causing cavities. In extreme cases, the teeth can be ‘eaten’ away down to the gums.
8. Avoid sugary foods as the bacteria found in plague live on sugar and turn it into acids.
9. Always wear a mouth guard when playing sports to prevent injury and to protect your teeth. Should a tooth ever get knocked out by accident try and save it by holding it in place while you seek immediate dental help. If this is impossible wrap the tooth in plastic or place it in milk and seek dental advice urgently.
10. Never use your teeth as tools. Teeth are for chewing food, and not for opening bottle tops or for ripping open packaging. Avoid the risk of breaking or chipping a tooth by using a scissors or bottle opener.
Regular visits to your dentist for check-ups will prevent you from losing teeth. If you have a dental problem such as toothache or bleeding gums, be sure to visit your dentist as soon as possible.