The first thing I ask my patient after he or she has a seat in the dental chair is, “What is your home care regimen?” Meaning: What are you doing at home to take care of your teeth?
Questions to Ask Yourself
1. How often do you brush? (Two or three times per day)
2. How long are spending brushing?
3. Are you a flosser and how often do you actually floss?
4. Do you use an antibacterial mouthwash and how often?
These are the basics. So would you like the answers to what is recommended for most people who happen to live in the world. Just kidding, but on a serious note, this will help.
- Brush two to three times per day
- Brushing should take you at least two minutes. (Two minutes per brushing.)
- Floss, floss, floss! (One to two times a day.)
- Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash two times per day
Okay. So there you have it. Does it seem pretty bleak. Hmmm … well, here are some tips if you are not doing some if these already. Try upping the amount of each, by one. For example, if you brush already two times per day but don’t floss and only rinse occasionally. Try bringing a manual toothbrush to work to brush after lunch. It only takes two minutes and you can brush in the restroom (you may start a trend at work though, you’ve been warned.) Also try flossing nightly when you get home and turn on the news or American Idol or whatever you watch, grab your floss and floss those pearly whites. Flossing nightly, even if it isn’t before bed is better than not flossing at all. Lastly, place your antibacterial mouthwash next to your toothbrush; so now you can rinse after you brush more consistently. I like to brush then rinse because then I can swish while I’m getting dressed or putting shoes on. Multi-task and then your off to work or to bed.
The Breakdown: If, Then …
- If you brush two times a day, then brush three times a day
- If you don’t floss occasionally, then floss daily
- If you don’t floss or floss occasionally, then floss daily
- If you rinse occasionally, then rinse daily
More on proper brushing and flossing to come …
Check back in for a discussion how oral health has links to the rest of the body and just as the eyes are the windows to the soul, so too is the mouth to the rest of the body. Often signs and symptoms of underlying health conditions, diseases, and cancer first manifest in the mouth before we see signs elsewhere. Also side effects of medications will often be manifested in the mouth as well.