Brushing and flossing can feel like a big chore. But with a new approach, your oral hygiene can become more efficient, more effective, and even rewarding.
Think about your own brushing & flossing history. You learn how to clean your teeth when young, and then spend your life using those techniques. Isn’t it time for a refresher course? What if you could get your teeth cleaner than usual while spending less time on oral hygiene?
We’ve put together a list of oral hygiene “hacks” that will make your twice daily cleaning as quick and pleasant as possible. If you’re ever looking for personalized advice, schedule your next dental exam so that Dr. Zymantas can give you tailored tips that will work for your teeth and gums.
Better Brushing = Fewer Cavities
If you’re winding up with tooth decay at your routine exams, try the following to level up your brushing:
Check your technique – If you brush your teeth in under a minute, don’t take special care to brush all tooth surfaces, or notice your teeth feeling fuzzy after brushing, it’s time for a refresher on how to brush. Check out this guide to exactly how you should be brushing your teeth. Make sure to brush the outward-facing, tongue-facing, and chewing surfaces of your teeth. Your molars also deserve special attention as they tend to have more cracks and fissures – make sure to clean every tooth in your mouth.
Use the right toothpaste – It may be time to switch up your toothpaste. If you just use whatever’s on sale at your local drugstore, take a closer look at your other options. A fluoride toothpaste is helpful for those with sensitive teeth, anti-plaque toothpaste helps with gingivitis prevention, and whitening toothpaste can help keep your smile bright. At your next exam, ask Dr. Zymantas which he recommends for you.
Get a new toothbrush – How old is your toothbrush? If you can’t remember when you started using it, it’s likely time for a change. You should swap out your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every 3 months, as well as after an illness. Bacteria build up on toothbrush bristles over time, and old toothbrushes do more harm than good. Plus, bristles lose their strength and the brush ceases being as effective.
Try a disclosing tablet – These tablets contain vegetable-based dyes that turn any plaque or food particles in your mouth dark in color. If you’re not sure which spots you might be missing with oral hygiene, using a tablet will point out problem areas in a snap.
Ask for feedback – Your hygienist & Dr. Zymantas will mention any spots that could use some TLC after examining and cleaning your teeth. But it never hurts to be proactive and ask about areas for improvement.
How to Establish a Daily Flossing Habit
So many patients skip flossing – and we get it. This step can feel time-consuming and unnecessary. But once you get into a flossing groove, we guarantee that it will become a welcome part of your oral hygiene routine. Your mouth will feel cleaner and you will better avoid gingivitis and cavities between your teeth. Here’s how to reach that happy place.
Find the flossing method that works for you – You’re not resigned to traditional flossing. If you find it annoying to use a string of floss, try a floss holder. Ask us about flossing alternatives and we can also help you floss comfortably.
Set flossing reminders – Always forget to floss? Set a nightly alarm on your phone for just before you usually go to bed. You can also put a Post-It on your bathroom mirror that you’ll see when you go to brush. If you’d rather floss in the morning, that’s fine – but most patients find nightly flossing works best because they tend to have more time for oral hygiene since they’re not rushing out the door.
Floss before you brush – Some experts say that flossing before brushing can be beneficial because fluoride from the toothpaste then has better access to areas between your teeth. This will also make flossing feel more effective because you will notice more plaque and food particles being extracted by the floss pre-brushing.
Make flossing…fun? – Flossing doesn’t have to be tedious. Put on the radio, a podcast or music, or watch a video on your phone. Make your flossing time into you time!
Will You Benefit from a Mouthwash?
For some patients, regular use of a rinse helps them improve breath, reduce plaque, and protect their enamel. Don’t pick a random rinse and start using it regularly – check in with us so that we can tell you more about which mouthwash might be best. We’re here to help with any dental care questions you may have.