These at-home tips will keep your mouth healthier than ever
Taking good care of your teeth and gums not only gives you a nice smile, it prevents other health complications such as gum disease. Gum disease, or periodontitis, is linked to serious health problems including heart disease, diabetes, low birth weight in infants, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. The good news is that you can save yourself money and a trip to the doctor by making these three changes to your at-home oral care routine:
- Floss, but don’t “pop.”
Make sure you’re flossing your teeth and not “popping.” Popping refers to when you put the floss between your teeth, wiggle it a little, then pop it out and move on to the next area. This is a waste of time. In order to properly floss your teeth, you need to wrap the floss around one of the two teeth that form the gap you’re flossing in. Hug the tooth with the floss. Slide it up and down the side of each tooth edge several times. This removes more plaque than just popping the floss between the teeth.
You should floss first, then brush your teeth so that you can remove the plaque that flossing loosens. If you can’t find time to floss before you brush, it’s okay to do it another time during the day/night. Just be sure to rinse your mouth with water after you’re finished flossing. This will help remove bacteria from your teeth and mouth.
- Switch to an electric toothbrush.
An electric toothbrush is great if you use it correctly. You don’t have to brush back and forth, but can just slowly move the toothbrush around each section of your mouth; the vibrating toothbrush will do the cleaning for you. Many electric toothbrushes also have a built-in timer so you know how long to spend on each section of your mouth. Just make sure you hold the toothbrush very gently against your teeth and gums — pressing too hard can damage and erode your gums. Consider opting for a model that also features a pressure sensor to alert you when you’re pressing too hard.
- Don’t forget about your tongue.
Your tongue is covered in bacteria. It’s important to finish off your tooth cleaning routine by brushing your tongue. This helps remove the bacteria and plaque that builds up inside your mouth and keeps your breath fresh throughout the day.