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Oral Health: Four Things Your Hygienist Wants You to Know

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Your oral health has a direct connection to your overall health. Taking care of your teeth and your gums helps prevent oral infections, which can spread to other parts of your body.

As part of National Dental Hygiene Month, dental hygienists nationwide are reminding their patients of four basic things they can do to improve their oral health. Follow these tips from the American Dental Hygienists’ Association to make sure you clean your teeth and gums effectively.

Proper Brushing is vital to your oral health.

You might be brushing your teeth twice a day, but are you doing it effectively? Choose a soft toothbrush that won’t scratch your teeth. Don’t forget to replace it every three to four months, or after you’ve been sick.

  • Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle.
  • Brush gently, using a small circular motion. Brush two to three teeth at a time. Brush outer and inner surfaces of your teeth.
  • Keep your toothbrush in contact with the surfaces of your teeth and gumline as you brush.
  • Tilt your brush vertically when you clean behind your front teeth. Use up and down strokes on the backside of your front teeth.
  • Don’t forget to gently brush the chewing and biting surfaces of your teeth. When you brush your tongue – brush from the back to the front.

Flossing removes bacterial plaque that your toothbrush can’t reach.

Bacterial plaque between your teeth and gumline need to be removed every day. Flossing is the easiest way to do that at home. If it’s hard to floss, ask your dental hygienist about interdental cleaning devices.

  • Use about 18 inches of floss, winding it around your middle fingers. Pinch the floss between your thumbs and index fingers so that you have one or two inches of floss to clean your teeth.
  • Use a clean section of floss for each tooth.
  • Slide the floss along the side of each tooth in a C-shape. Slide the floss against the tooth surface and under your gumline.

Use an oral rinse to clean other areas in your mouth.

Good oral health also means taking care of your cheeks, tongue and the back of your throat. Use an antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce bacteria in your mouth. Ask your dental hygienist which type of oral rinse is best for you.

  • Make sure you swish for 30 seconds.
  • Gargle intermittently.
  • Never swallow oral rinse. Spit mouthwash into the sink.

Chew sugar-free gum if you can’t brush or rinse for your oral health.

Ideally, you should brush at least twice a day. If you’re stuck in a meeting at work and can’t take a break to brush your teeth, chewing sugar-free gum can help keep your teeth clean. It works by stimulating the flow of saliva, which neutralizes plaque acid. Chewing sugar-free gum also helps get rid of food debris and helps maintains tooth mineralization and proper pH levels in your mouth.

+ Is it time for your dental cleaning? Call our office to schedule an appointment. Konikoff Dentistry has eight locations with three offices in Chesapeake, one in Suffolk and four in Virginia Beach. You can also call 1-800-SMILE-23.

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