What's the Minimum You Should Be Doing to Protect Your Teeth?

Updated August 19, 2016

How often do you think about your teeth? They get daily use out of us multiple times a day for our entire lives. That is a lot of work! What is the minimum you should be doing to protect your teeth?

Your teeth need regular care in order to stay healthy and make your smile look great. Good dental care includes much more than just brushing twice a day, though. From daily care to twice-yearly checkups, learn the minimum you should be doing to protect your teeth.

Daily Care

 Image via Flickr by Marc Samson

You need to perform daily care on your teeth and oral structures every single day. This is the only way to maintain their health and function. Daily use includes such items as brushing and flossing, but it can also consist of other things such as drinking water with fluoride, using mouthwash, and limiting food and beverages that stain your teeth.

When it comes to dental care, daily maintenance is critical. Set aside a few minutes each day to brush and floss as follows.

Brushing

The reason you are to brush gently is to prevent receding gum lines. If you hold your toothbrush too tightly and scrub your teeth, you are abrasively brushing your teeth, and this is not good for your teeth or your gums. By doing this for extended periods of time, you could damage your gums by causing them to become irritated and inflamed. If left this way, your gum line will start to shrink and recede exposing your soft and gentle dentin which is located under the tooth enamel. This can cause multiple problems with your teeth that will require the assistance of a dentist.

To help your teeth look their best, dental experts recommend brushing at least twice per day. Hold your toothbrush at about a 45-degree angle against your gumline and gently move the brush away from your gums. Be sure to brush the inside, outside, and chewing surface of each tooth, and keep it up for at least two minutes total. Once you're finished with your teeth, brush your tongue gently in order to eliminate bacteria.

Flossing

But what if you don’t like the feel of dental floss? There are other ways to remove the bacteria and plaque from between your teeth. They are not as good as options as flossing daily, but they can help that individual that has a lack of adherence to flossing.

Mouthwash can be a lifesaver for those who cannot perform flossing or who do not like the feel of the floss between their teeth. In place of flossing, swish an antiseptic mouthwash around in your mouth for a minute or so. This will allow the fluid to get in between all the cracks of your teeth and remove any leftover food particles or plaque build-up as well as prevent bad breath. Obviously, using mouthwash is not as near as efficient at removing plaque from between your teeth, but it can help to prevent gingivitis.

The other option to use in place of dental floss is a tool called Stim-U-Dent. It is a plaque remover in the form of a wooden stick. It is easier to hold onto and it is just as effective at cleaning in between your teeth as dental floss. The wooden picks are compact and disposable and can be found in any oral hygiene aisle of most stores.

Since you can't remove all of the bacteria and food particles from your teeth by brushing alone, flossing is also a necessary component of your daily dental care. For the most effective flossing technique, use an 18-inch length of floss and gently slide it in between your teeth, one at a time. Though most people only need to floss once per day, flossing after each brushing session can keep your teeth even cleaner and brighter.

How Much Is Too Much?

While brushing and flossing up to three times a day is great for your teeth, dentists don't recommend exceeding that frequency. After all, brushing or flossing too often can start to wear away your tooth enamel and cause gum damage. Limit yourself to brushing after your three main meals of the day.

In contrast, neglecting to brush at least twice a day can lead to serious dental problems. Daily brushing and flossing are your first line of defense against bacteria-packed plaque, a film that accumulates on your teeth. If you don't brush it away, plaque can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, not to mention cavities and other major dental conditions.

Twice-Yearly Checkups

Daily care is critical, but even flawless brushing and flossing can't give your teeth everything they need. For comprehensive oral health, schedule a checkup with your dentist at least twice a year. During this regular visit, most dentists will examine your teeth, take x-rays, measure gum recession, and professionally clean your teeth. If you're experiencing an issue related to poor oral health, your dentist will also advise you about proper brushing techniques and devices.

While a biannual visit to the dentist works well for most people, some patients require more frequent checkups due to ongoing health concerns. Whatever you do, don't visit your dentist less often than recommended. Skipping a checkup here and there might mean the difference between healthy teeth and cavities or tooth decay.

Daily dental care and biannual checkups are the keys to a healthy mouth. Whether you need a routine exam or a root canal, Carefree Dental can help you save up to 50 percent on every visit to the dentist.

 

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