Brushing your teeth is one of many good habits you should develop to maintain a healthy mouth. Over the past decade dentistry has taken large leaps forward. Oral hygiene products are now more advanced than ever. Dental hygiene today has ballooned with products and procedures to clean and whiten, straighten teeth, prevent gum disease and freshen breath. In addition to following the basics (brush, floss, and get a professional cleaning at least twice a year) patients are presented with a vast array of products from high-wattage at-home whiteners to invisible braces and fillings.
Floss once per day.
The best way to remove the bacteria that forms plaque you must floss. Flossing removes most bacteria that accumulates between teeth and leads to bad breath, yellowing, and tooth decay. Flossing also prevents gum disease (gingivitis), which has been linked to some forms of heart disease. The plaque produced in blood vessels is caused by the same bacteria that collect between your teeth then gets into the bloodstream. Healthy gums are pink and tight against the teeth. Diseased gums are red, loose, and swollen.
Brush at least twice per day.
For manual toothbrush users, choose a small, soft head and brush gently for at least two minutes. Brushing too hard weakens enamel and causes your gums to recede. Most dentists recommend electric toothbrushes because the circular motion of the head softly scrubs teeth. Information about the importance of proper brushing is available here.
Scrape your tongue.
The tongue has about 300 types of bacteria and these germs are responsible for 90 percent of bad breath. After brushing your teeth, scrape the tongue with a tongue scraper. Scraping helps prevent bad breath and prevents colds from spreading. Tongue scraping limits the amount of bacteria that moves up into the nasal passages.
Chew sugarless gum.
If you aren't able to brush after every meal, chewing sugarless gum helps maintain healthy teeth. Sugarless gum increases the production of saliva. Saliva washes away a significant amount of bacteria.