Professional dental cleanings are important for removing built-up tartar on your teeth, and should not be replaced by only at-home care options. With that said, keeping a thorough at-home care regimen can help limit the build of that tartar between appointments significantly. The 5 tips for oral hygiene below can help take your at-home care routine to the next level.
1) Use a Timer
It is beyond likely that you've heard before that it is important to brush your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time. Many people attempt to intuit how long 2 minutes is while brushing their teeth and end up under-brushing. Using a stopwatch or timer, like the one found in most smartphones, can be the difference-maker in ensuring you brush for the correct amount of time.
Bonus tip: You can also try an electric toothbrush. Particularly useful are electric toothbrushes that have built-in timers and buzz or vibrate after they’ve been running for two minutes.
2) When Brushing, Think of Your Mouth as Having Four Quadrants.
A useful exercise for visualizing your teeth during brushing is to divide your upper and lower jaws into four equal sections mentally: upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right.
During your two minutes of brushing, aim to spend about 30 seconds brushing the fronts, backs, and chewing surfaces of all the teeth in one quadrant, before moving on to the next. This helps make sure you're giving all of your teeth equal care, and not accidentally neglecting some teeth in favour of others.
3) Try Pulling Your Floss into a C-Shape
Flossing is an important aspect of good oral hygiene. To get the most out of your flossing, you generally don’t want to just see the floss up and down between your teeth a couple of times.
For best results, one should pull the floss into a c-shape around a tooth, and gently move it up and down the sides. Then repeat the same steps on the other tooth by pulling your floss into a c-shape in the opposite direction. Think of the C as hugging the tooth being flossed, curving around its form.
This will help ensure that each tooth gets a careful cleaning.
4) Keep Your Floss in Plain Sight
If you tend to forget to floss after brushing your teeth, you’re letting bacteria and food particles linger in those tight areas. This can result in tooth decay and bad breath over time, so it is important to try to remember.
If you have trouble remembering to floss, start leaving your floss out in plain sight, somewhere you’re sure to see it. Ideally, keep it right next to your toothpaste and toothbrush. It might seem overly simple, but sometimes little changes like this can have a massive impact on your ability to develop new habits.
5) Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly
Your toothbrush is a hardworking tool, and it will begin to wear down pretty quickly. You should replace your toothbrush every three months at a minimum, but more frequently if it starts to show wear sooner.
To help you determine when to replace your toothbrush, take a good look at it. If the bristles are bent, frayed or flattened, it’s probably time to get a new toothbrush. Many toothbrushes have blue bristles. The blue will start to fade over time, and when it’s about half gone you should replace your toothbrush.