The Dos And Don’ts Of Clean, Healthy Teeth

Oral hygiene dos and don'ts...
Oral hygiene dos and don'ts...

The health of your teeth and gums are an indicator of your level of well-being (did you know gingivitis is linked to heart disease, for example?), so developing and maintaining good dental hygiene habits is an essential part of your healthcare regimen. Clayton DeCorte, registered dental hygienist from Toronto’s NOWSmile sees a lot of patients committing the same mistakes when it comes to cleaning their teeth.

Here’s a primer of key dos and don’ts for getting your teeth clean.

Don’t brush up and down and side to side

“Most people brush like this and it can cause your gums to recede,” says De Corte. Instead, hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and for the top teeth, brush down in a sweeping motion, maintaining a light, lateral pressure, he says. De Corte also notes that aggressive brushing can wear down the enamel on teeth and also affect the gums.

Do clean your tongue

“Your tongue is like a shag rug that hasn’t been vacuumed with trapped bacteria in it,” says De Corte. He recommends adding a tongue scraper to clean your tongue as part of your daily routine.

Don’t use too firm a toothbrush

“Lots of people think a harder brush will get your teeth cleaner, but you should always use one with soft or super soft bristles,” says De Corte.

Do use a mouthwash

Mouthwash can be good at reducing the number bacteria you have in your mouth, and De Corte says it can be especially convenient to use if you have a social engagement and you don’t have a chance to brush or floss before it.

Do floss

When you simply brush your teeth, you’re only getting 50 percent of your mouth clean, says De Corte. “You’re not reaching what’s below the gum line or between your teeth.” He recommends flossing at night before you brush your teeth so you can get rid of that bacteria hiding away (otherwise, you allow the bacteria to have the entire night while you sleep to reside and do damage to your teeth and gums). Keep “Flossers” on your bathroom countertop next to your toothbrush so you don’t forget to floss.

Don’t feel pressure to brush after lunch

If you want to and are able to, you can go ahead and brush after your midday meal, but studies indicate that brushing your teeth twice a day, in the morning and at night, is sufficient.

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Flare, Elle Canada and ElleCanada.com, Glow, Metro, Huffington Post Canada, Travelife and Travel + Escape. She also runs her blog, HealthandSwellness.com, where she writes about health, beauty, fitness and lifestyle.

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