During the pandemic of the novel coronavirus and its resultant illness COVID-19, the American Dental Association (ADA) has asked dentists to close their offices to elective and routine dental care, handling only emergency treatment. This means that you might be going longer between dental check ups than usual.
If you’ve been making your check ups regularly, this shouldn’t be a serious problem. However, now is a great time to evaluate your home hygiene routine and try to improve it. The better care you take of your teeth at home, the lower your risk of having a dental emergency.
Here are some tips to help you improve your home hygiene routine.
Are You Brushing Enough?
One way to improve your home hygiene routine is to make sure you’re brushing your teeth often enough and long enough.
At a minimum, you should brush your teeth twice daily for a minimum of two minutes each time. If you aren’t brushing twice a day, add a second brushing session. If you have a hard time figuring out when to brush in the morning because toothpaste makes it hard to eat breakfast or enjoy your coffee, you can brush without toothpaste in the morning when you get up. Then brush with toothpaste after your morning coffee.
To make sure you’re brushing your teeth long enough, use a timer. Or take advantage of the coronavirus-inspired 20-second memes for handwashing. Use six of these to make sure you’re brushing for the full two minutes.
You can brush more than twice a day, but here are some guidelines to make sure you are benefiting as much as possible from tooth brushing:
- Only use toothpaste twice a day: more than that could be too much of a good thing
- Don’t brush your teeth right after consuming highly acidic foods and drinks
- Check guidelines below to improve your brushing technique
Follow these tips and you will notice how much cleaner your teeth are–and will protect yourself from the potential damage of too much toothbrushing.
Are You Brushing Properly?
Your brushing technique matters as much or more than your brushing frequency. So check your technique to make sure you’re doing it right. With a manual toothbrush, hold the bristles at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and brush in small circles. Move from tooth to tooth, ensuring you brush the entire tooth from the top to bottom. Do this for the front, back, and chewing surfaces of your teeth.
Make sure you aren’t brushing too fast or too firmly. Moving your brush too fast or pushing it too hard can increase the amount of wear on your teeth. It can even lead to receding gums–aggressive tooth brushing is one of the leading causes of receding gums.
Don’t Forget to Floss
It’s also important that you floss your teeth every day. Brushing can only clean the surfaces of your teeth that the brush can reach. You want to make sure you’re fully cleaning all your teeth. Floss gets the places that your toothbrush can’t reach. Use a section of floss from 12-18 inches in length and wrap it around the index finger of each hand, stabilizing it with your thumb. Work the floss gently between your teeth, then work it gently back out. Clean the floss off before working it down between the next two teeth, and regularly move on to a new section of floss.
If you are having trouble flossing, try a different tool. We don’t have evidence that any type of dental floss is better than the others, except that the one you use is better than any you don’t. Try different styles of dental floss until you find one that is comfortable and effective for you. This could include dental flossers, interdental brushes, and even water flossers.
We’re Here for Your Dental Emergency
At BKS Dental, we’re happy to continue to serve our patients’ emergency needs during this trying time. If you need emergency dental care in Jefferson County, please call (920) 563-7323 today for an appointment with a dentist at our office in Fort Atkinson.