In our Tuesday's Tip yesterday we discussed six benefits of receiving regular dental cleanings from our fantastic hygienists. You can review the list above.
It has been our experience spanning almost three decades in dental care that small, consistent habits yield long-lasting results. It is not uncommon for all of us set a New Year's resolution to lose weight for example. It is conceivable that more gym memberships are purchased in January than during any other month, however, said memberships tend to be discarded or forgotten after a few shorts weeks into the new year when life just gets too busy.
Good oral hygiene habits can be overlooked simply because we don't take the time to review ourselves and see what we can improve upon.
The American Dental Association offers seven areas that we need to evaluate about our own oral health care habits. We extend the challenge to you to ask yourself how you are doing in the following areas:
1) Do you keep your toothbrush too long?
"Did you know the average life of a toothbrush is 3-4 months? Make a resolution to change your toothbrush with every season this year. Frayed and broken bristles won’t keep your teeth clean—these are signs it’s time to let go. When you’re shopping, look for one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance."
2) Do you brush for the recommended two minutes?
"Speed demons, listen up! Your teeth should be brushed for a full two minutes, twice per day. Most of us fall short —the average time most people spend brushing is 45 seconds. If you’re racing through cleaning, try setting a timer. Or distract yourself by humming your favorite tune!"
3) Do you brush too hard?
"Be gentle with your teeth. You may think brushing harder will remove more leftover food and the bacteria that loves to eat it, but a gentle brushing is all that’s needed. Too much pressure may wear down the hard outer shell on your teeth and damage your gums."
4) Do you brush right after eating?
"If you feel the need to clean your teeth after eating or drinking, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing—especially if you have had something acidic like lemons, grapefruit or soda. Drink water or chew sugarless gum with the ADA Seal of Acceptance to help clean your mouth while you are waiting to brush."
5) Do you store your toothbrush improperly?
"When you’re done brushing, keep your toothbrush upright and let it air dry in the open. Don’t keep your toothbrush in a closed container, where germs have more opportunity to grow, and if your toothbrush is in a holder next to another, keep them separated like the photo above."
6) Do you use a toothbrush with hard bristles?
"Soft bristles are the way to go. You don’t want to use medium or hard bristles because these may wear down the outer shell of your teeth and may cause sensitivity when eating or drinking cold food and beverages."
7) Do you use an improper brushing technique?
"Get your best brush with these steps: First, place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Then, gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes. Next, brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Finally, To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes."
So there you have it. Are there one or two areas in which you recognize you need improvement in your daily routine? Pick one or two bad habits you'd like to change and make it happen!
We believe in you - slow and steady wins the race! It was true with the tortoise and the hare and it is true in dental care. Small and consistent good habits will pay you dividends for years to come.