Are You Keeping Good Oral Hygiene Habits?
Your Arlington, VA, dentist, Dr. Bruce Hanley, wants to see you at least twice a year for exams and cleanings. These preventive services ward off decay, periodontal disease and more. But, remember, good oral hygiene habits at home are indispensable, too. Read here about brushing, flossing and a sensible diet. They're key to a healthy, attractive smile.
Brushing your teeth twice a day
You've done it since you were a child, but do you use proper technique? Place your soft-bristled brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth. Use a back and forth motion to clean the front surfaces, and then, proceed to the chewing and back surfaces. Be gentle, and don't abrade your gums. Stay at it for two minutes, and rinse well with clear water.
What kind of brush should you use? The American Dental Association (ADA) says to use one that is in good condition. When bristles break down, get a new one, or replace your brush every 2 to 3 months regardless of condition. Also, purchase a new brush after you've recovered from a cold, flu or other contagious illness.
Flossing your teeth
At Bruce Hanley DDS and Associates in Arlington, VA, your dentist and hygienist recommend flossing at least once a day. Like brushing, flossing removes bacteria-laden plaque from the gum line and between the teeth. Unlike, brushing, however, flossing reaches more difficult to reach areas of the mouth. In short, both brushing and flossing contribute to healthy teeth and gums.
To choose your best flossing tool, examine products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance to ensure quality and effectiveness. Strand floss, interproximal brushes and water flossers are popular choices, and when used properly and consistently, they work really well. Also, feel free to ask your hygienist for the product best suited to your teeth, gums and existing restorations such as crowns or bridgework.
If you're new to flossing, be patient with the process. As with any worthwhile habit, flossing takes practice. Be gentle with your floss, and systematically work your way around your mouth. Do it at the same time each day (morning or night--it doesn't matter).
You are what you eat
This old adage applies to your teeth and gums, too. So stay away from sugary foods and drinks which encourage plaque formation. Up your intake of fresh veggies and fruits, and enjoy whole grain breads, cereals and rolls. Protein builds your gum tissue, and water hydrates it and keeps your teeth clean.
Find out more
To learn about your best oral hygiene routine, talk to your hygienist at Bruce Hanley DDS and Associates. Patient teaching is just part of the preventive dentistry services your dentist provides. To arrange your check-up and cleaning, call (703) 524-7100.