In order to keep your smile looking its best, it is important for you to take proper care of your teeth at home. Your six month dental cleaning will remove packed-in plaque and tartar, but you should take precautions to ensure the buildup remains low. Before you let your teeth get out of control, follow these tips for dental home care.
Teeth Brushing Tips
Brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially before bedtime. Use toothpaste and a soft bristle brush approved by the ADA. Put the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, and gently move in small circles. Make sure you always feel the bristles hit the gums. Take care of every surface for each tooth.
Use the top of the toothbrush to clean the insides of your teeth. If you have difficulty getting in certain areas, you may want to get a toothbrush with a pointed top and a flexible base for the bristles. If necessary, you may consider using an electric toothbrush. This will remove plaque well, and it may help you get to areas that you may miss manually.
Flossing on a daily basis will help you remove bacteria under the gumline. This will prevent plaque from building up, which could help you avoid damage to your teeth, gums, and bone. Use about 12-16 inches of floss so you can move down the strand and use clean floss for every tooth. Put the floss in a “C” curve around each tooth and under the gumline, and move the floss up and down in a gentle motion to clean the sides of each tooth.
If you cannot use conventional floss, you might want to use floss holders or “Superfloss” instead. The holders tightly pull the floss so that it is a sturdy string you can run between your teeth. The Superfloss has a built-in threader to help you guide the floss in between teeth. Threaders work well for people with braces or permanent retainers where floss alone cannot get down to the gumline.
Rinse your mouth out with water after you brush your teeth. If you cannot brush your teeth for a long time after eating, you may consider rinsing at that time as well.
Some patients need special rinses to restore fluoride levels and prevent tooth decay. You may ask your dentist about this during your next appointment to see what options are right for you. Products like Listerine can help you fight bad breath, but they are not designed to restore the health of your teeth. Nevertheless, it will not hurt you to rinse your teeth with Listerine.