Proper dental care helps to maintain a person’s dental health and prevents periodontal or gum disease from developing. Proper dental care involves cleaning teeth correctly and regularly. If teeth are not cleaned every day, there is a great risk of tooth decay. Early signs of decay include visible holes in your teeth, pain when biting and feelings of sensitivity or pain in the teeth. When carbohydrates in food and drinks a person consume are not cleaned from the teeth regularly, they provide fuel for cavity causing bacteria. These bacteria can start forming plaque on teeth 20 minutes of eating. So, if you take snacks frequently, you may want to clean your teeth more often than twice a day. Cleaning teeth helps prevent cavity causing bacteria from progressing to gingivitis or gum disease.
When you brush your teeth, take enough time to do a thorough job. This can be achieved by the use of proper equipment. Fluoride toothpaste and a soft bristled toothbrush that fit in ones mouth comfortably should be used. Remember to brush the inside and chewing surfaces of the teeth as well as the tongue. Vigorous brushing should always be avoided as it can irritate the gums.
Keep the equipment clean by rinsing the toothbrush with water after brushing. The brush should be stored in an upright position. Brushes should not be covered or put in closed containers as this encourages the growth of bacteria.
It is also important to replace the toothbrush after a given period of time. Invest in a new toothbrush or a replacement head for your electric or battery operated toothbrush every three to four months.
- Teeth should also be flossed in order to reach the tight spaces between the teeth or under the gum line with a toothbrush. The following are guidelines to effective flossing:
- Do not skimp. Break off about 18 inches of dental floss. Wind most of the floss around the middle finger on the hand and the rest around the middle finger on the other hand- leaving about 1 inch to floss your first tooth.
- Take it one tooth at a time. Use your thumbs and forefingers to gently pull the floss from the gum line to the top of the tooth to scrape off plague. Rub the floss against all sides of the tooth. Unwind to fresh floss as you progress to the next tooth.