If you ever think about your dental health, you probably think most about your teeth. Especially that one tooth. You know the one. It’s a little sensitive. Maybe food gets stuck in its crown or between it and the next tooth.
But do you ever think about your gums? Most dental patients don’t think about their gingiva, or how their regular dental hygiene affects them. But your periodontal tissue is one of the most important parts of your mouth. Your gums hold your teeth in place. They keep bacteria out of your bloodstream. They protect your jaw and to roots of your teeth. Maybe you should pay more attention to taking care of them when you brush your teeth!
Choose the right tools to clean your mouth. It doesn’t matter whether you use a traditional toothbrush or an electric one. Both can clean your teeth and gums effectively. Just make sure to choose a toothbrush with soft bristles. Hard or medium bristles can damage your enamel and your gums, especially if you have inflammation there. Soft bristles are able to bend in order to sweep just below the gum line while you brush, without as much of a risk of causing a recession.
Choose the Correct Angle
Many people are content to use their toothbrush like a scrubber, moving back and forth over the front surface of the teeth, like a saw. Others brush up and down. While an up and down motion is probably better than an aggressive scrub (which can wear the enamel from your tooth,) neither are quite right.
You get the best clean for your teeth and your gums when you use a 45-degree angle. This allows those soft bristles to do their job at the gumline, is tough on plaque, and still gentle enough on the surface of the teeth and on the gums. Make sure you get all the surfaces when you brush. Many people neglect the back of their teeth, causing plaque buildup and inflammation in the gingiva! Keep brushing for two minutes for a thorough clean, making small movements that focus on only one or two teeth at a time.
Flossing is Crucial!
You’ve probably heard Dr. Agarwal or his hygienist tell you time and again to make sure you floss your teeth. Flossing can help prevent cavities between your teeth, as it removes plaque that your toothbrush can’t get to. But flossing also keeps your gums healthy. When you’re flossing the right way, you get down to the bottom of each tooth just under the gumline by a couple of millimeters. These cozy nooks and crevices can create pockets under the gums, where bacteria like to live!
Rinse it Clean!
Speaking of bacteria, once you’ve brushed and flossed well, use a non-alcoholic, anti-microbial mouthwash to rinse away the leftover bacteria. Do this at night to give your mouth a clean slate before you rest for the night.
If it’s time for your regular checkup, give our Raleigh office a call so we can set your appointment. It’s the final step in maintaining healthy teeth and gums!