Actually, most Americans do not forget to floss but rather choose not to altogether. Some people believe brushing is enough for healthy teeth. While brushing is an integral part of an oral hygiene routine, it is not adequate for removing food particles from between teeth. Floss cleans the hard-to-reach places where bacteria collects and forms plaque. Preventing plaque from developing along the gum line is vital to keeping gum disease at bay. Remind yourself to floss by keeping the container out on the bathroom counter or next to your tooth brush.
Some people believe the harder you brush the more stains you will remove from your teeth. The fact is, overly-aggressive brushing can actually make your smile more vulnerable to tooth staining. Using excessive force or a hard bristled tooth brush can erode tooth enamel, making way for dark beverages to stain the sensitive dentin of the tooth. Additionally, brushing too hard can cause your gum tissue to recede from your tooth. Gum recession is harmful in many ways; it can expose the tooth root, creating extreme sensitivity and sometimes internally infected teeth. If you are noticing blood when you brush your teeth, apply less force or even switch tooth brushes. The American Dental Association recommends using soft bristled toothbrushes to prevent damaging tooth enamel and gum tissue. If you make these changes and still find your gums are bleeding during brushing, contact Dr. Thomas DeFinnis; you may have a form of gum disease known as gingivitis which should be treated immediately.
If you are worried about foul odors coming from your mouth, brushing your teeth, using dental floss, and antiseptic mouthwash can help, but perhaps the most helpful oral hygiene habit for fresh breath is cleaning your tongue. Odor-causing bacteria collects at the back of your tongue on your taste buds. Use a tongue scraper to gently scrub away this harmful bacteria, rinsing your brush after every swipe. If you do not have a tongue scraper, use the bristles of your toothbrush. You will find that practicing this habit daily will reduce bad breath and help your mouth feel fresher.
For more tips on complete oral hygiene habits, schedule a dental cleaning with Dr. Thomas DeFinnis at 610-642-0139. Our friendly team of professionals will be happy to help you and your family achieve optimal oral health by demonstrating techniques and offering advice. We serve patients from Havertown, Ardmore, Penny Wynne, Wynnewood, and the surrounding communities.