Health Inspired Dentistry Blog

Quick and Easy Dental Hygiene Tuesday, 04 November 2014

Parties with friends, family visits, holiday shopping – often, we get swept up in the festivities of the holiday season, and we may let the little things slide. But don’t let the hustle and bustle of the season keep you from practicing good dental hygiene.

In the long run, good dental hygiene is not such a little thing. To prevent dental problems from developing, you should continue to brush twice a day, floss every day and have your gums and teeth regularly evaluated by your dentist no matter how busy you are.

Quick fixes for dental hygiene:

How do you keep up with your oral care regimen when you’re in a hurry? Here are some tips for keeping your dental care routine effective and efficient:

  • No time to floss? If you’re crunched for time, consider keeping some floss picks near your couch or TV for use while watching your favorite show. Or throw some in your purse or your pocket and use them on the go. And although most people cite lack of time as a reason for not flossing, the Academy of General Dentistry says that flossing even two or three times a week provides some benefit and is far better than not flossing at all.
  • No time to brush after your meal? If you don’t have time to brush after a meal, be sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to remove all food particles and lingering sugars.
  • Keep a bottle of fluoride mouth rinse in your purse, glove box or office desk drawer and slip away for a quick, refreshing rinse. Although mouth rinses should not be considered substitutes for a proper regimen of brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing, they can be a good quick fix to slow acid formation and tooth decay until you find the time later that day to floss and brush your teeth properly.
  • Sugar-free gum or mints with xylitol can be a quick fix for on-the-go dental care. Xylitol has been shown to have decay-preventive qualities. Experts recommend using a xylitol product immediately after meals and snacks to help reduce plaque, inhibit adhesion of bacteria to the teeth and reduce contact time of sugars on teeth. Because duration of exposure is important, gum should be chewed for approximately five minutes and mints should be allowed to dissolve.
  • Although these tips will help you keep up with your oral hygiene when you’re pressed for time, there’s just no substitute for regular brushing and flossing when it comes to fighting tooth decay. In addition, the better the brushing and flossing technique you have, the more effective you will be and the less time you will need to spend keeping your teeth in tip-top shape.

Brushing techniques:

  • Brush for two to three minutes at least twice a day.
  • The head of your toothbrush should be placed beside the teeth, and the tips of the bristles placed at a 45-degree-angle to the gum line.
    Move the toothbrush back and forth, using short strokes and a scrubbing motion, several times in each spot.
  • Keep the bristles angled against the gum line, while you brush both the inner and outer surfaces of each tooth.
  • Brush the chewing surfaces straight on.
  • Clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth by tilting the brush vertically and making several up-and-down strokes with the top of the brush.

Flossing techniques:

  • Floss at least once a day, preferably at bedtime.
  • Break off about 18 inches of floss, and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the other hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes used.
  • Hold the floss tightly (without any slack) between your two hands, with about an inch of floss between them. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle sawing motion.
  • When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C-shape against the tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel resistance.
  • Hold the floss against the tooth. Gently scrape the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum.
  • Repeat this technique on all of your teeth, including the teeth in back.

Some information courtesy of the Academy of General Dentistry.