Just because you’ve been cleaning your teeth since kindergarten doesn’t mean you’ve got the technique right – it’s easy to have picked up bad habits along the way. But good oral hygiene is not only great for having fresh breath, it also protects your teeth and your budget.
Here’s how to brush up your teeth-cleaning skills to ensure you not only have a great smile, but you’re helping to avoid dental issues.
Brush like a boss
The biggest tip for brushing your teeth is to allow the time to do it properly – a quick wave of a toothbrush does not do the job. You need to brush your teeth twice a day – once after breakfast, and once before bed, unless you’re having Invisalign treatment. (With Invisalign, you need to clean your teeth and aligners after everything you eat and drink, except for plain water.)
Brushing your teeth should take two minutes, and you also need to allow time for flossing and any mouthwash you’re using. Here’s some help if you’re unsure of techniques. If you eat breakfast at work, take a tooth-brushing kit and clean your teeth after. If you’re too tired last thing before bed, clean them an hour earlier and you’ll avoid late-night snacks as well.
Some people find electric toothbrushes easier, but you still need to put in time. And change your brush every three months, whatever you’re using.
Don’t forget to floss
The joke is you only need to floss the teeth you don’t want to lose. But it’s not a joke, of course. Floss at least once a day. If you find yourself wanting to rush out the door straight after brushing your teeth, floss them first. If you have bridges you might also need little dental brushes – check with your National Dental Care hygienist for the best way to clean your teeth.
Flossing definitely helps with fresh breath, as food doesn’t get a chance to stay between your teeth.
Mouthwash made simple
There are dozens of mouthwashes out there, but it’s not a fix for bad breath (see your dentist) or a substitute for cleaning your teeth.
Mouthwash isn’t an essential, unless your dentist or doctor has suggested a particular type for a dental issue. You may need mouthwash if you have dry-mouth problems, as lack of saliva can cause problems with your teeth and gums.
Mouthwash can also be used last thing at night as a fluoride rinse to help strengthen dental enamel – if this is the case you can’t drink anything afterwards.
Check with your National Dental Care practitioner to see if a mouthwash is needed.