By Kimberly Chapman, D.D.S.
May 15, 2018
Tags: oral hygiene  

Do you know the secret to a healthy smile? Good oral hygiene! Excellent oral hygiene habits can help you stay cavity free, while poor oral hygienehabits may increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Your Bothell, WA, dentist Dr. Kimberly Chapman discusses a few ways you can improve your oral hygiene.

Devote more time to brushing

Plaque coats every surface of your teeth with a sticky bacterial film that causes cavities. Fortunately, it's easy to remove plaque simply by brushing your teeth. Speedy brushing is likely to leave some plaque behind on your teeth. The longer the plaque remains on your teeth, the greater the chance it will harden into tartar. Tartar is like white concrete. Tartar irritates the gums and may even cause gum disease if it remains on your teeth long enough.

Increasing the amount of time you brush in the morning and evening will ensure that you remove every speck of plaque. If you spend less than two minutes brushing your teeth, you may be more likely to get some bad news at your next checkup!

Make flossing a daily habit

Do you remember the last time you flossed your teeth? If you don't, you're not alone. Far too many people only floss occasionally, or never. Because plaque builds up between teeth every day, an occasional flossing habit won't do much to protect your smile. If you're a forgetful flosser, add a daily reminder to your phone or place a sticky note on the bathroom mirror. Keep the floss out on top of the bathroom counter, instead of in the drawer or cabinet. Out of sight, out of mind!

Don't forget about the little things

The way you brush and floss is just as important as frequency. Brushing too hard can erode your tooth enamel and damage the gums, while overly vigorous flossing may damage your gums. Choose a brush with soft or EXTRA soft bristles and gently brush each tooth using small circular motions, holding the brush at a 45-degree angle. Flossing only requires a gentle up and down movement to dislodge plaque. Sonic toothbrushes are held over each tooth lightly, and held the way you would hold a pencil - not held in the palm of your hand. Don't scrub! Small circular motions.

Brushing your tongue and the roof of your mouth every time you brush your teeth can also help you avoid cavities. Bacteria lurk in these areas and can transfer to your teeth the minute you spit out the toothpaste. If using a toothbrush to brush your tongue is too uncomfortable, try a tongue scraper the next time you visit a Bothell drugstore. Scraping the tongue gently will remove many odor-causing bacteria.

Keep your smile healthy with good oral hygiene habits at home, and regular dental checkups in our office. Call Bothell, WA, dentist Dr. Kimberly Chapman at (425) 488-6120 to schedule an appointment, and we look forward to speaking with you.

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