An effective oral hygiene routine is more than just regular brushing and flossing. Our Toronto dentists and hygienists review all the steps you should take to keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean.
Regular Professional Cleanings & Check-ups
Visiting the dentist every six months or so for a checkup and cleaning is an essential part of an effective oral hygiene routine.
While regular at-home brushing and flossing are a necessary daily maintenance routine for your teeth, plaque will still build up and harden over time. This is true no matter how careful and thorough you are when brushing and flossing!
What's great is that your dentist has the tools necessary to clean away that plaque and tartar buildup safely, without damaging your enamel.
Your dentist can also identify and treat developing oral health problems in their early stages before they become serious. Oral diseases like cavities, gum disease and even abnormalities like cysts and tumors are often not obvious to the untrained eye, so it’s important to get checked by a professional regularly.
With early identification and treatment of oral health problems, you’ll minimize your need for more invasive dental treatments, and keep your mouth healthier, in the long run.
Brushing is probably the most important part of your routine. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day, in the morning and at night, for two full minutes at a time. If you can manage it, an extra session after lunch is beneficial.
To make sure each tooth gets the attention it needs, divide your mouth into four sections, and spend 30 seconds on each: upper left, upper right, lower left, lower right. Be sure to brush the front, back, and chewing surface of each tooth.
You should floss your teeth at least once a day, ideally right before you go to bed. Flossing removes food debris that can get caught between your teeth in spots that your toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing is essential for preventing tooth decay and gum disease, and will also help keep your breath fresh.
To do a good job flossing, it’s important to take your time. Insert the floss between two of your teeth, and run it carefully up and down the sides of each tooth, pulling it into a ‘c’ shape each way. Work your way methodically along your top jaw, and then your bottom jaw, until you have flossed between all your teeth.
Eating a healthy diet that’s rich in calcium is also an important part of your oral hygiene routine, as it will help keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy from the inside out.
Eat starches and sugars in moderation, and make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Drinking enough water will help you maintain a good saliva flow. This is essential because saliva washes away food residue and debris that would otherwise collect on your teeth, allowing bacteria to thrive. Drinking enough fluids can therefore help prevent cavities and gum disease.
If you are already brushing and flossing regularly, but want to give your routine a boost, you can try adding some supplementary hygiene aids.
Hygiene aids include things like mouthwash, interdental cleaners, oral irrigators, and tongue cleaners, to name a few.
While these tools cannot replace a thorough brushing and flossing routine, they do make a good addition to it, to help keep your breath fresh and minimize plaque buildup.