Daily Brushing and Flossing
You’ve probably heard this old refrain your entire life: brush twice a day, floss regularly, and visit the dentist every six months. It’s routine advice, but do you understand why these habits are so vital to your well-being? After all, the importance of daily brushing and flossing extends far beyond simply making your teeth sparkle. Learn more about brushing and flossing to remind you why they should be a part of your daily life.
Why Brushing Your Teeth Is So Important?
Brushing is the simplest, most effective dental care practice. When you brush, you remove plaque and bacteria and help brighten your smile. Many people wonder if brushing once a day is enough, but you should really brush at least twice daily, preferably in the morning and before bed. It’s also important to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, after being sick, or when the bristles become frayed.
Here’s a closer look at the importance of brushing your teeth:
- Prevent tooth decay and cavities: When you eat, a sticky film known as plaque forms on your teeth, leading to tooth decay and cavities if not removed promptly. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste eliminates plaque and significantly lowers the risk of cavities.
- Prevent gum disease: Tartar, a hardened form of plaque, leads to gum disease if not addressed. Regular brushing stops tartar from gaining a foothold, keeping your gums healthy.
- Avoid mouth infections: Brushing minimizes harmful bacteria, preventing mouth sores, tooth abscesses, and other painful infections.
- Freshen your breath: Food particles and bacteria are the primary culprits behind bad breath. Brushing removes these offenders, the first step toward having fresh, inviting breath.
- Reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke: Strong connections exist between your oral health and cardiovascular health. They may seem unrelated, but gum disease can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, making regular brushing an important preventative measure for maintaining overall health.
- Remove stains: Brushing your teeth also has aesthetic benefits. It helps remove surface stains caused by coffee, tea, wine, and other stain-inducing foods and drinks, promoting a whiter, brighter smile.
How to Brush Your Teeth
The first step is to select the right toothbrush and toothpaste. Dentists typically recommend a soft-bristled brush in a size and shape that fits your mouth comfortably so you can reach all areas easily.
Here are the basic steps for brushing your teeth:
- Squeeze some toothpaste onto the brush, wet it a bit, and place the bristles at a 45-degree angle along the gum line.
- Gently move the brush back and forth in short, tooth-wide strokes.
- Brush your teeth’s inner, outer, and chewing surfaces.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
- After two minutes of brushing, spit out the toothpaste and rinse your mouth with water.
The Importance of Flossing
While most people are good about brushing, flossing often falls by the wayside. However, you should floss at least once a day to reach the tight spaces between teeth that your toothbrush misses. This removes food particles that would otherwise lead to bacterial growth and decay.
Here’s why the importance of flossing can’t be overstated:
- Prevent chewing difficulties: Food particles lodged between your teeth can lead to discomfort and difficulty chewing. Regular flossing helps eliminate problematic particles, promoting a healthier and more comfortable eating experience.
- Avoid toothaches: Toothaches often stem from cavities and decay caused by bacterial activity on trapped food particles. Flossing helps prevent toothaches by dislodging these particles before they cause issues.
- Promote gum health: Flossing removes plaque along the gum line, often more effectively than brushing, reducing inflammation and bleeding associated with gingivitis and gum disease.
How to Floss Your Teeth
Choosing the right floss depends on your preferences and the space between your teeth. Waxed, unwaxed, thick, and comfort floss can all be effective.
Follow this guide on how to floss effectively:
- Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around your middle finger on each hand.
- Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
- Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion.
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape against one tooth and gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
- Hold the floss tightly against the tooth and rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions.
- Repeat these steps until you floss between every tooth, including behind your rear molars.
Maintaining oral health is a lifelong commitment that impacts your smile and overall well-being. At Donahue Dental, we understand the importance of oral health and hygiene in daily life. If you’re looking for personalized, comprehensive dental care in St. Charles or St. Peters, MO, please call us at (636) 946-6117 to request an appointment today.