Flossing Is Not Enough: How Proper Oral Care Techniques Can Make a Huge Difference

May 28, 2015 | Cosmetic Dental Care, Oral Health Care

Flossing is a very important step in a good oral care routine. However, flossing alone is simply not enough to maintain optimum oral health. Flossing is beneficial only for getting the buildup of plaque and food that is between the teeth. This leaves a large portion of your mouth untouched, giving bacterial ample space to grow. An ideal oral care routine includes flossing daily, brushing at least two times per day, using mouthwash daily, and even cleaning your tongue daily. These steps are only beneficial if done properly.

Flossing and brushing are a perfect match in oral care. What one misses the other gets. The purpose of performing both is to reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth, and the food that feeds them. This bacteria feeds on the plaque and produces an acid, this acid eats away at tooth enamel and causes cavities. This same bacteria also produces the waste that causes bad breath. It is often found in the plaque, and neither brushing nor flossing alone can remove all of it. In order to make the most of your time, and provide the best care for your teeth, it is important to know how to do each step properly and just what those steps are.

Flossing Your Teeth

Flossing is simple, extremely important, and often the most neglected oral care step. To floss properly begin by choosing a dental floss that will not fray. Start with 18” or so of floss. Wrap 14” around your index or middle finger, whatever is more comfortable, and the rest around the same finger on the opposite hand. Glide the floss that is left unwound between your teeth, gently curving is against your tooth when you reach your gum line, and sliding it alongside the tooth. As the floss collects plaque and food, release the fresh floss from the side that you wound 14” on and wrap the dirty floss around the other finger so you can maintain an even tension. Always be sure to pay close attention to the very back teeth!

Brushing Your Teeth

Now that you have flossed properly, it is time to brush! I recommend a soft bristle brush that you replace no less than every 3 months or sooner if your bristles show wear. You want to begin with a fluoride tooth paste, about the size of a pea, and hold the brush at a 45 degree angle at your gum line. Use gentle pressure and a circular motion to get the bristles both on and between teeth. Focus on one or two teeth at a time taking care to get both the front and back of each tooth and alone the gum lines. You should be brushing two minutes, at least two times per day.

Cleaning Your Tongue

You likely knew that is was important to brush your teeth, but did you also know it is important to brush your tongue? The taste buds on your tongue can harbour that same bacteria that your teeth can. This is a major factor to bad breath. Using your tooth brush and either water, mouth wash, or toothpaste, brush back to front all over your tongue. This will reduce yellowing on the tongue, and freshen your breath!

Rinsing Your Mouth

The last step helps clear the whole mouth of bacteria. This step is: Mouthwash! Mouthwash is the perfect ally. It freshens breath, and kills bacteria the other steps may have missed. There are a multitude of choices out there, from alcohol free for a sensitive mouth, to kinds prescribed by the dentist to eliminate gingivitis. The most common one is used for killing bacterial plaque that causes cavities and gum disease. To use it, read the label and swish and gargle the appropriate amount for 30 seconds one or two times per day. Be sure to not drink water right after so the mouthwash has time to work.

Following these steps as a daily part of your oral care routine, along with regular dental check-ups will help ensure a healthy mouth! It is important to do each consistently and properly so that they are able to get rid of any bad bacteria build up that might cause bad breath, cavities, or gum diseases.