Americans may care a lot about their teeth but gum disease remains a problem. Nearly 75% of the United States population has gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. Almost half (47.2%) of all American adults have some degree of periodontitis, they have mild, moderate or severe amounts of periodontal disease. More than one quarter of adults in the country have untreated dental cavities. One way to combat these problems and promote oral health and hygiene is by flossing or using dental floss picks.
Some people wonder if their oral hygiene regimen is the best for their dental health. Here are some pointers for keeping your teeth looking great.
Make sure you are brushing correctly. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day or after each meal. Make sure the position of the bristles of your toothbrush are at a 45 degree angle relative to the gum line. You need to brush from the gum line up and back down. The outer surfaces of the teeth need to be brushed with an up-and-down as well and back-and-forth motion. Be gentle with this! Often people who complain of bleeding gums are found to just brush too hard. For the inside of the teeth, repeat the same motion as with the outer teeth and at the same angle.
Brush your tongue. Brush your tongue in long stokes from back to front. Rinse the toothbrush after each stroke so that you do not end up redepositing the bacteria on your tongue. Keeping your tongue clean is a great way to deal with or prevent bad breath.
Floss your teeth every day. Here are some tips for flossing your teeth or using dental floss picks:
Floss after you brush. Your flossing or use of dental floss picks is the most effective when done right after you brush your teeth. When you floss, you are able to get to spaces in between your teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. If you can only floss one time a day, you should do it at night.
Remember, you slide the floss up and down, not back and forth. The best way to floss is to slide the floss up and down the tooth. You should make sure the floss or dental floss picks get as close to the base of the tooth at the gum line and the work back up (or down) to the crown of the tooth. If you are using dental floss, you should use the next unused section of your strand for the next tooth. You can see that the used portion of your floss should be covered with plaque. It is also laden with bacteria and germs so if you were thinking about using it again, you should just throw it away. It really is not worth using another time. One of the points of flossing is to prevent infection but reusing floss is one great way to spread germs.
Be gentle! Just as you did when you brushed your teeth, you should be gentle when you are flossing your teeth as well. Dental floss and even the dental floss picks can cut your gums and cause them to bleed. You can also cause a soft tissue wound if you hit the same spot over and over in your flossing zeal. Some people do go overboard with their flossing. You really need to floss every day for sure but once a day is plenty. Unless you eat something that you know is caught or makes you need to floss a second time.
The very best kind of floss is the kind you know you will use. Different people prefer different kinds of floss. Some people like the dental floss picks. Others really prefer the feel of the dental tape to the thinner dental floss. At the end of the day, the best kind of dental floss is the kind you will use.
Good dental hygiene is not rocket science. It is really just about developing good habits and making them a part of your day, every day. You can do a lot to protect your teeth and your smile through a daily dental cleaning routine.