No dental care checklist is complete without biannual cleanings. However, caring for your teeth at home is just as vital.
If you need a little guidance in your oral care routine, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to explain the basic steps to clean, healthy teeth and gums.
Your home oral care routine doesn’t have to be difficult or take up an hour of your day. It takes less than five minutes in the morning and at night to keep your dental care in great condition.
Here’s what to add to your list:
The most important part of your dental home care is brushing your pearly whites twice daily. Aim for two minutes per brushing session. We recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush and ADA-approved fluoridated toothpaste (e.g., AIM Cavity Protection Gel, Colgate Cavity Protection Gel & Toothpaste, or Hello Naturally Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste).
Here’s the right way to brush your teeth:
- Position your toothbrush about 45 degrees against your gums.
- Use a slow, soft brushing motion.
- Clean the outside and top of your teeth.
- Reach the inside of your teeth by holding the brush perpendicular to the teeth and gently moving from the upper portion to the bottom of the teeth.
Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to switch out your toothbrush at least every quarter to ensure it works its best.
Flossing is one of our best teeth care tips at home to keep plaque away. You can use floss strands, threaders, or picks. You may also consider air, water, or wooden flossers. When it comes to flossing, it’s more about how you use it (including how often) than it is about the type of floss (though you’ll want to stick with ADA-approved brands).
What is the best way to floss your teeth?
- Floss whatever time works best for you (morning, afternoon, or night).
- Use a flosser or up to 24 inches of regular floss. If you use the latter, wrap your middle fingers with the floss. There should be an inch or two left to work with (about the amount on a flosser).
- Keep your floss tight against your pointer fingers and thumbs. Then, bring the floss between two of your teeth. Move it from top to bottom of each tooth with a light hand.
- Once you get to the gums, turn the floss into a curved position to safely get to the area in the middle of your gums and teeth.
- Follow these steps for all your teeth with new floss.
Don’t forget to scrub your tongue when you brush your teeth. We recommend doing it morning and night so that it’s a part of your routine. This will help you wake up with better-smelling breath. Feel free to utilize your toothbrush during this step of your dental home routine. A tongue scraper also works.
Here’s how to use a tongue scraper:
- Set the scraper against the back portion of your tongue. Drag it from back to front so that it covers your tongue.
- Scrape the tongue again from various positions. Repeat.
- Swish a little water, and spit it into the sink.
- Wash the scraper in between sessions.
If you’re using a toothbrush, follow these steps:
- Apply a small bit of toothpaste to your toothbrush.
- Brush your tongue, from back to front, with the same light hand you use to brush your teeth.
- Swish water, and spit it out as you would with a tongue scraper.
There’s nothing like mouthwash to make your breath minty-fresh again. You can find mouthwash with the ADA Seal of Acceptance at your local grocery store, or you can ask a dentist for a prescription. Mouthwash might be one of the best oral care products, but remember that it should only be used for those above age 6.
While mouthwash instructions can differ from brand to brand, here are the general steps:
- Use mouthwash after brushing your teeth, flossing, and scraping your tongue.
- Pour the product’s recommended dosage into a clean cup (often around three to five teaspoons).
- Put the mouthwash in your mouth, and ensure it covers all parts of your mouth, including your teeth. Gargle the mouthwash for 30 seconds or so. Make sure not to swallow any.
- Spit out your mouthwash. There’s no need to rinse the mouthwash away with water after you’re done.
- Stay hydrated. Always go for a glass of water after you eat to help wash away any food remnants. If the food particles stay in your mouth, they can quickly lead to bacteria, which can cause cavities and more.
- Keep the sweets and acidic foods and drinks to a minimum. We’re looking at you, coffee. On a real note, high-sugar and high-acidity foods can be hard on your enamel. You don’t have to take them off the menu, but enjoy them in moderation to keep your oral health in good shape.
- Eat plenty of fruits and veggies. Raw, crunchy produce (apples, celery, and carrots) has been shown to help remove plaque and improve the smell of your breath. Many types of produce also feature antioxidants, which may benefit your gums.
- Call your dentist with any concerns. If you ever have oral hygiene questions or concerns about your mouth or teeth, add West Richland Family Dental ((509) 257-3829) to your contacts. Our team is happy to assist you.
Creating a good oral care routine can be simple and fun. Start with brushing your teeth morning and night for two minutes, flossing once during the day, cleaning your tongue, and using the right amount of mouthwash.
Your routine should only take a few minutes, making it easy to squeeze into your daily schedule. As always, if you need additional dental care, or you’re getting close to your next cleaning, West Richland Family Dental would love to see you.
Need to schedule a dental cleaning? West Richland Family Dental is conveniently located in Richland and ready to help with all your family’s dental care needs. Schedule an appointment now.