R-E-S-P-E-C-T Your Teeth, and They Won’t Come Back to Bite You

dental cleaningConsidering the intimate relationship we have with our teeth — using them throughout every day of our lives — you’d think we would take better care of them. But we give them only cursory brushing, and flossing…what’s that? We chew ice, open bottles, and clip fingernails with our teeth. We regularly skip our twice-yearly cleanings and exams.

Truth be told, many people take better care of their cars than their teeth, panicking if they go a few miles over the number on the little oil change sticker in the corner of the windshield.

Where’s the love? Where’s the respect? Thing is, if you take care of your teeth, they’ll take care of you for the rest of your life. Can you really say that about your car?

Dr. Marshall is all about prevention as the first line of defense from dental mayhem. So, here’s a little refresher course in the ways of home dental care — Dental Hygiene 101.

Brushing

OK, we’ve all been brushing since we were tykes. But here’s how you should be brushing.

  • Use a soft-bristled brush. You may think a firmer brush would clean better, but they actually make your gums recede and can damage your tooth enamel.
  • You should spend two minutes. That may seem like an eternity if you’ve been a speed brusher. If you want to break that down, think 30 seconds per quarter.
  • Start in the back of each quarter and work your way forward in an overlapping circular pattern.
  • Hit the inside of the teeth, the molar tops, the outsides, the gumline, the roof, and tongue.
  • Don’t be too firm because you can wear down your enamel.\
  • When your bristles start to fan out, it’s time for a new toothbrush.
  • Brush two or three times daily.

Flossing

If Rodney Dangerfield did a commercial for a dental product, it would have to be dental floss. Most people give flossing little respect, or attention. Here’s how to do it the right way.

  • Floss once daily.
  • Use around 18 inches of floss. Wrap it around either your index or middle finger leaving a two-inch span between them.
  • Proper flossing only takes about one minute.
  • Hit both sides of every tooth, going down just below the gumline.
  • Waxed, unwaxed, flavored, plain? Makes no difference, but if cinnamon makes you actually floss, then go for it!
  • Ribbon, tape, regular floss, floss picks. They’re all good.
  • Flossing can cause a little bit of bleeding, especially if you’ve missed a few days, but that will go away with regular flossing.

Look, you passed Dental Hygiene 101! That was easy, huh? But there is one last piece of the hygiene routine — scheduling twice-yearly visits with Dr. Marshall. Why twice yearly? That’s about the time it takes to form amounts of tartar that can be problematic. Plus, it lets Dr. Marshall head off any problems early on, before they become real problems. Call us at 610-649-0696 to schedule your next appointment.

Posted in: Dental Cleaning

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