Since we spoke a lot about using our smiles as a stress-free tactic this week, today I want to share tips on having a healthy smile. Outside of our normally day-to-day process of brushing twice a day, how often do we think about the logistics behind getting clean teeth? Today, I will answer the questions of how often should you brush your teeth a day, floss, how to prevent and remove coffee stains and more.
Instructions for Brushing
Clean teeth are very important for your general health. Regular visits to your dentist, proper brushing and flossing can ensure your teeth will stay healthy and clean.
- Place toothpaste on toothbrush.
- Brush your teeth for a full two minutes. Use your stopwatch clock on your phone.
- Brush with a 45-degree angle against your teeth.
- Brush the outer and inner surfaces of your teeth, the chewing surface and gums. Make sure to get your uppers, backs and fronts.
- Try to brush your teeth after each meal (3x a day). If you can’t, brush twice a day (morning and night).
Tips: Do not brush to hard or more than four times a day. Compulsive and tough brushing can expose the root of the tooth to irritation, in return irritating the gums.
I try to brush my teeth after each meal, however, during the day I get very busy at work. In a substitute I chew two pieces of Trident sugar-free gum for twenty minutes. Trident is approved by the ADA Council with findings that show their gum stimulates saliva flow, which helps to prevent cavities by reducing plaque acids and strengthening teeth.
Learning how to floss your teeth is critical for good mouth hygiene. I personally am guilty for not being a daily flosser :(, however, I am practicing to be better. Flossing is a great way to remove plaque and bacteria that can lead to cavities.
- Purchase Dental Floss – You can choose any that works with your personal interest; waxed, unwaxed, flavored or unflavored.
- Take approximately 18 inches (45 cm) of dental floss and wrap most of the floss around one middle finger, with the remainder around the opposite hands middle finger.
- Grab the floss between your index finger and thumb, leaving about one to two inches of floss exposed.
- Begin with the lower teeth and use the thumbs to slowly guide the floss in between two teeth.
- Move the floss gently in a C motion when it makes contact with the gums.
- Repeat the process within each tooth.
- Take care to floss the backs of the rear molars.
- Floss your teeth once a day. The ADA suggests 2-3 minutes, but even sixty seconds can improve your gum health. It’s best to do this in the evenings.
Tip: Always brush and floss after your last meal of the day. Letting food sit on your teeth overnight can increase your chances of getting cavities.
- Not using the right toothbrush: see tip link below for help with finding the right toothbrush.
- Not picking the right bristles: see tip link below for help with finding the right bristle for you.
- Not brushing often enough or long enough: Twice a day and at least two minutes.
- Brushing too hard or too often: Do not brush more than three times per day and three minutes each time.
- Not brushing correctly: Remember 45-degree angle.
- Starting in the same place each time: Start with a different spot to brush to avoid repeating of the same place and not getting others.
- Skipping inner tooth surface: The surface that your tongue presses against. Brush it!
- Not following up with a rinse: Rinse your toothbrush after each use. Bacteria can grow on an un-rinsed brush.
- Not letting your toothbrush dry: If your toothbrush remains moist bacteria can build up.
- Not changing the toothbrush often enough: Change your toothbrush every three to four months.
Avoiding Coffee Stains
If you are like me, you absolutely LOVE coffee. It’s your air that you breathe. Unfortunately, this is the worst habit for your pearly whites. Sorry, but if you already have the mark of coffee on your teeth (coffee stains) the only thing you can do is make an appointment w/ the dentist for a teeth whitening session. However, if you haven’t gotten the mark yet – here are a few tips that I love that may prevent staining.
- Use a straw in your coffee. This is my fave. I do it everyday, especially since I have converted over to ice coffee for the summer. Although, even when I drink my hot coffee I grab a straw. Of course, I get the weird stares but who cares.
- Rinse your mouth after drinking coffee. Buy your favorite travel size mouth wash and keep it in your work space and/or purse for quick grabs.
- Chew sugar-free gum. Another top fave of mine. As you can see my day pretty much consists of chewing gum after each meal or drink. On any given day there is a minimum of three packs of different flavors so I never run out.
- Healthy snack. I personally haven’t tried this one but I hear great things. Try eating an apple or carrot afterwards. It will help with the cleaning of your teeth.
Tip: Check out this article on finding the perfect toothbrush and bristle for your needs and deciding whether to use electric or disposable. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/choosing-a-toothbrush-the-pros-and-cons-of-electric-and-disposable
Missy B. Salick