Brushing & Flossing
BRUSHING & FLOSSING: Sure, you brush your teeth twice a day. You may even brush for the required two minutes. But has anyone ever taught you exactly how to brush?
IT'S ALL IN THE WRIST: To begin, hold the toothbrush at a 45- degree angle to the tooth, so that the bristles gently move between the spaces and between the gum and the tooth in a gentle sideways motion. Next, sweep the brush up, then down. This movement will move the bacteria away from the critical area around the gum.
COVER ALL BASES: It's imperative that you work on all surfaces, including the cheek surface by the upper teeth, the inner surface on the upper teeth and the same for the bottom ones.
CHILL OUT: Don't take your frustrations out on your teeth. If you find your gums reddening after you brush, you're brushing too hard.
TIME FACTOR: Brushing should take at least two minutes--that's critical to keep everything in there healthy and plaque-free. Count it out or set a timer, just don't stop before the two-minute mark.
THREE TIMES A BRUSHER: Ideally, you should brush your teeth when you wake up, at bedtime and after every meal. But, three times is a pretty good average to keep.
A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY: Although toothpaste commercials show actors squirting huge swirls of toothpaste onto their toothbrushes, you really don't need more than a pea-sized amount to do the job. More than that, and you're just wasting it. Kids need even less-about the size of the tip of a match, in fact.
BABY BRUSHING: Healthy first teeth also contribute to proper alignment of the jawbones and eventual bite. As soon as that first baby tooth appears, a child's teeth (or tooth) must be brushed twice a day. In the beginning, you can wrap a piece of gauze around your finger and rub it across the teeth; no toothpaste is necessary until around the time of a child's third birthday. Before using a toothpaste that contains fluoride, check with your dentist. If your child is already getting fluoride supplements or drinks a lot of fluoridated water, don't use fluoridated toothpaste. If your dentist recommends fluoride toothpaste, only use a match-tip sized dab. Kids like to swallow toothpaste.
FLOSSING PROMOTES TOOTH LONGEVITY: What your brushing can't reach, flossing can. It removes food particles and plaque that elude your toothbrush since the little stuff often hides behind and between the teeth. In fact, dentists consider it even more crucial in the prevention of tooth decay and periodontal disease than brushing. But just like brushing incorrectly, flossing incorrectly can do more harm than good. Make sure you're doing it right.
- Rip off about 18 inches of the floss and wrap it around your pointer or middle finger. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand, so you've got about seven inches between each hand.
- Pick a spot to start and make that your designated starting place, so you'll get into the routine of it. Most people pick the space between their two centrals or the molar farthest in the back.
- Direct the floss up between the teeth, and once it's in place, hold it taut. Use a sawing motion as you glide it between the teeth.
- Next, you need to get the floss under the soft tissue, so move it under there in a C-shaped fashion, gliding it back and forth. This will remove the plaque from those critical spaces between your teeth without doing any damage to that sometimes-sensitive soft tissue. If you hold it instead in a vertical "U"position and pull it up into the soft tissue you can actually do damage.
- Should your floss get stuck, don't tug on it to get it out. Just slide it out toward you from between the teeth, then reposition it and try again. Repeat the same process with each of your teeth.
If the idea of flossing just bores you and you'd rather skip it, I bet we can change your attitude. Run the floss through a few nooks between your teeth. Now smell it. Nice, huh? That unappetizing smell is what you're subjecting those around you to if you don't floss. So you're not only hurting your teeth, but hurting others around you as well. And all the Altoids in the world won't mask it!
FLOSS FOR YOUR LIFE:
There is a direct link between flossing and the prevention of heart disease. Countless studies have proven that poor dental cleaning and a lack of flossing can lead to heart disease. Researchers recently found that diseased gums released higher levels of bacterial pro-inflammatory components into the bloodstream. These components can find their way to other organs, including the heart, and increase their risk of failure. There is clear evidence that periodontal disease is implicated in promoting the formation of lesions in blood vessel walls. This translates into an increased risk for major cardiovascular and cerebrovascular (stroke) events.