It’s time to get back to basics! We often make posts about specific dental problems you might have, or procedures you might encounter, but this week we thought we would drill down on the basics of dental hygiene that every person should know in order to help promote a healthy mouth.

Brushing: Brush at least twice a day, and after every meal if time allows. Use an ADA approved toothbrush and toothpaste (look for the ADA seal on the package!) and brush for at least two minutes. Be as thorough as you can, brushing at a 45-degree angle to clean all surfaces, and be sure to get the chewing surfaces as well. Replace your toothbrush every three months – not just when you see your dentist.

Flossing: Where the brush can’t reach, the floss will go! We recommend flossing every day to remove food particles below the gum line and between teeth. Start with 18 inches of floss and wind it around each of your middle fingers. Leave one to two inches open in the middle; this is your working area. Hold the floss in a tight line and work it between your teeth, moving up and down the inner surface of each tooth on either side of the gap. Hug the floss around the base of each tooth to get at the food materials below the gum line, and don’t floss too aggressively. Periodically move a couple of inches down the floss in either direction to produce a new, clean working surface.

Gum: We live in the real world too, and we know that brushing or flossing during the day or while you’re on the go is not always practical. Drinking water and sparingly chewing sugar free gum (unless you’ve been diagnosed with TMD) is a great way to help remove food particles from your teeth in between when you are able to do more serious cleaning.

We can all use a good reminder now and again about how to take the best care of ourselves and tend to our oral health on a daily basis. We hope you’ll take these tips as a jumping off point to a healthier mouth today!

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