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Grading Your Oral Hygiene

Grading Your Oral Hygiene

While you can feel free to argue whether the eyes really are the windows to the soul, there’s little room for debate that the mouth serves as the gateway to the body. Because your oral health plays such an important role in not only how you eat and speak but how your body feels overall, it only makes sense that you practice quality oral hygiene to ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy and strong.

Ask most people to rate how well they take care of their oral health and you’ll probably hear rave reviews, even if the truth is a little more modest. While most people sincerely want to practice quality oral hygiene habits, they either don’t know what proper oral care takes or overestimate how well they brush and floss nightly.

To help you determine where your oral care ranks on a scale from phenomenal to fairly certain you’ll be wearing dentures, your Vancouver dentist at Ostenson Dental wants you to know what practicing quality oral health actually means.

Proper Brushing

When assessing your skill at wielding the mighty toothbrush, you need to consider three points: how often you brush, how long you brush, and how frequently you change brushes.

Most people assume that brushing once a day prior to retiring for the night is enough to thoroughly clean their teeth. After all, brushing at night cleans away all lingering food particles that have remained after a day of munching, crunching, gnashing, and mashing all manner of tasty treats. But brushing in the morning after waking also plays an important role in maintaining your oral health.

As you sleep, plaque, a sticky biofilm, builds up on your teeth. Whenever you consume sugars, plaque produces acids that slowly eat away at tooth enamel, which can eventually lead to decay and cavities.

By brushing in the morning, you remove built up plaque from your teeth. The less plaque on your teeth as you go about your day, the less acid gets produced, and the healthier your smile remains.

Now that you understand the importance of brushing at least twice a day, we can turn our focus on long you spend brushing.

If you timed yourself the next time you picked up a toothbrush, how long would you guess you actually spend brushing? Well according to the American Dental Association, people, on average, only spend 30 seconds brushing. While this might seem like enough time, the ADA recommends you spend at least two minutes brushing.

Assuming you actually brush your teeth twice a day, spending 30 second brushing each time means you only brush for one minute a day, a quarter of the recommended time. If you only spent 30 seconds showering or shaving, how clean or smooth would you expect your skin to become? The same principles apply to brushing your teeth. You need to spend enough time brushing to thoroughly clean every crevice in your mouth to rid it of harmful plaque deposits.

Consider installing a clock in your bathroom so you can time yourself while brushing, and ensure you don’t rush through your routine.

Finally, let’s look at the condition of your toothbrush, and ask when was the last time you bought a new one? If the bristles of your toothbrush look frayed and worn down, the time has come to give your brush a hero’s burial and call in reinforcements.

The American Dental Association recommends that people replace their toothbrushes every three months, or as soon as a brush begins to show the signs of wear. Using a toothbrush with bristles that have worn out won’t clean your teeth as thoroughly as using a new brush, so don’t be afraid to embrace change when it comes to your toothbrush.

So how did you score? Do you brush twice a day for at least two minutes with a brush that was bought within the last three months? If so, flash yourself a smile. Your Vancouver dentist at Ostenson Dental believes you’ve earned it.

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