One of the tings that many patients do not realize is that their oral health is equally attributed to visits to your dentist for cleanings and checkups and home maintenance. All of the things that you do at home has a large effect on how healthy your smile remains, and attempting to keep good habits at home can be the difference between the necessity of fillings and dental work and a healthy mouth that only needs a cleaning. The goal is to keep plaque and bacteria growth to a minimum at home, and this is achieved by eating healthy foods without added sugars, avoiding soda and juices that are high in sugar, and brushing and flossing every day.

So what should you be doing at home to make sure your oral health is in good order?

Tooth brushing – Make sure you are brushing your teeth at least twice per day in the morning and evening, and if possible brush your teeth after ever meal using a soft bristle brush and toothpaste.

  1. The toothbrush should be placed at a 45 degree angle and used in small, circular movements. If you feel the bristles on your gums you are doing it correctly.
  2. Brush all surfaces of every tooth, inside, outside and on top.
  3. Clean the backs of the front teeth using the tip of the brush.
  4. Remove remaining bacteria by brushing your tongue with your toothbrush.

If you choose to use an electric toothbrush, use it in the same manner listed above.

Flossing – Make sure you floss after you brush every time. Flossing removes plaque in between teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach.

  1. Take 12-16 inches of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches of floss in between.
  2. Gently insert the floss between each tooth and pull it back and forth with a saw-like motion.
  3. Wrap the floss around the teeth in a c shape and rub the edges of each tooth around the gumline.

Pre-packaged floss is also recommended if you prefer it.

Rinsing – Rinsing your mouth after each meal and after you brush and floss can remove food particles. Use water if you have no access to approved rinses, and if you need advice on which dental rinse to use just as your dentist.