Many patients experience a common scenario as their hygiene appointment approaches. They begin to wonder if they have been doing their part for the last 6 months (or 3-4 months for periodontal patients) with their oral hygiene. They often picture what the hygienist may end up saying about their gum health. "Can I fool the hygienist by becoming a diligent flosser the week before my appointment?" The answer is no...and there is also a more simple, less stressful approach to maintaining your dental health year-round. Upgrade your dental care routine with these five simple steps!
Most patients are aware of the need to brush twice daily and floss at least once daily. While this is an excellent start, it may not be enough for achieving ideal oral health. If you want to keep your mouth in the best possible condition between your routine visits, we recommend the following:
1. Switch to an electric toothbrush.
An electric toothbrush can clean your teeth more efficiently than a manual toothbrush when used correctly. Unlike traditional brushes, the proper technique does not include back and forth motions. Instead, you guide the bristles over each tooth. Then, the tiny vibrations take over. Most models come with a 2-minute timer, so you always brush for the recommended time. In addition, many models feature pressure indicators to make sure you are not brushing your teeth or gums too aggressively.
2. Be sure to floss properly.
Since a toothbrush only reaches about 60 percent of tooth surfaces, removing excess plaque and debris is essential. Flossing every day can eliminate the remaining 40 percent, but only if it is done with the proper technique. You must form a c-shape with the thread and pull it beneath the gum line. Be careful not to floss too hard or you can cause damage to your gum tissue.