Brushing your teeth is one major way to prevent cavities and keep those pearly whites looking beautiful. However, many of you might not be brushing your teeth properly. You may be surprised to learn you are making mistakes when brushing your teeth. Your oral health may be compromised if you are committing one of the following five toothbrushing mistakes.
Flossing after brushing:
Everyone should floss at least once per day. But if you’re flossing before you brush, you’re leaving stuff behind that could cause cavities. Even though flossing removes food and plaque that’s stuck between the teeth, it still might be hanging around in your mouth. Following two minutes of brushing with a good floss is the solution for a truly clean smile.
Brushing in straight lines:
Brushing in straight lines is great for some parts of your teeth, but not all. For the outer surfaces of your teeth, you should be brushing in circles in order to get the best scrub possible. For the inner surfaces of your teeth, brush in up and down motions. Finally, for the tops of your big back teeth, straight lines are the way to go.
Not brushing long enough:
You should brush at least two times per day, but after every meal is best. And each time you brush, you should do it for two minutes. Get a timer, and set it on your bathroom counter. It’ll help you make sure you’re sticking to the two-minute rule every time.
Using an old brush:
Toothbrushes need to be replaced about every 3 months. If the bristles of a toothbrush are bent, then it’s past time for a new brush. Why does it matter? Bent bristles just can’t clean the teeth as well as straight bristles. It’s as simple as that.
Using the wrong toothpaste: First things first, make sure you’re using a fluoride toothpaste. It strengthens the teeth and prevents cavities. Second, if you’re buying toothpaste for kiddos, get something fruity-flavored. Kids usually don’t like minty flavors, and might put up a fight if you ask them to brush with a toothpaste they think tastes yucky. Finally, if you have sensitive teeth, get a toothpaste with potassium nitrate. It’s proven to help with tooth sensitivity, and can make it easier to eat hot or cold foods.
If you’re guilty of one or more of these toothbrushing mistakes, you’re not alone. The good news is that now you know how to brush like a pro, and that’s going to go a long way in helping you have a healthier, happier smile.
How Much Do You Know About Your Oral Health?
One of our goals at the Fairlawn Dental Clinic in Ottawa, Ontario is to provide the best patient education to everyone. Dr. Jaleel believes it is important to understand the facts about your oral health, which is why we came up with these fun and informative trivia questions to test your dental knowledge. Read on to reveal the answers and explanations to each oral health question. (Some questions may have multiple correct answers.)
Oral Health Quiz
1. Flossing can increase your life expectancy.
True or false?
2. What percentage of adults are afraid of the dentist?
a) 25 percent.
b) 50 percent.
c) More than 80 percent.
3. Chewing gum is bad for your teeth.
True or false?
4. Toothpaste has an expiry date.
True or false?
5. What’s the hardest substance in the human body?
6. It’s OK to keep your toothbrush near the toilet as long as it doesn’t fall in.
True or false?
7. Your teeth are one-of-a-kind, just like your fingerprints.
True or false?
8. If you’re right-handed, the right side of your mouth will be the dominant chewing side, too.
True or false?
9. It’s OK to throw used dental floss in the toilet.
True or false?
10. How often should you replace your toothbrush?
a) Once a year.
b) When the bristles start looking worn.
c) Every three to four months.
1. True. By flossing daily, you can gain an additional six years.
How? Poor oral hygiene may lead to inflammatory gum diseases and heart disease. By flossing, we rid our mouths of these disease-causing bacteria.
2. Answer: c. More than 80 percent of adults experience some degree of dental fear. And more than half say this fear may keep them from seeing a dentist.
3. False. Most dentists give gum the thumbs-up — as long as it’s sugarless. Chewing gum stimulates saliva flow, which helps protect your teeth against decay-causing bacteria.
4. True. Any toothpaste containing fluoride must carry an expiration date and, typically, it’s two years after the manufacture date. After this date, fluoride in the toothpaste loses its ability to brush away bacteria in the mouth and protect against cavities. The flavour may also change, and the toothpaste may become too dried out and hard to squeeze through the tube.
5. Answer: b. Many people think teeth are made of bone, but they’re not. They’re actually made up of fours layers — enamel, the hardest substance in your body, being the outer protective layer.
6. False. A spray of bacteria from flushing can travel up to a distance of six feet. Yuck!
7. True. Toothprints are unique to each individual, and nobody has an identical set, not even identical twins.
8. False. Chewing-side preference has not been found to be related to an individual’s dominant hand side.
9. False. Yes, you should floss, but, no, you shouldn’t flush your floss. Dental floss is non-biodegradable and wraps around small clogs and tangles them into bigger ones.
10. Answer: b and c. You should replace your toothbrush (soft is best) every three to four months or if it starts to show signs of wear, or if you have been ill.
How many questions did you get right?
Having ended 2013 with the passing of Halloween and Christmas, ringing in 2014 with the continuation of (edible) holiday delights, and Easter right around the corner, children’s teeth witness a lot of sugary goodness passing through year-round. While their spry metabolisms and healthy, energetic bodies have no time processing these delicious treats, children’s teeth are unfortunately the most prone to cavities compared to their older counterparts.
Kids have sweet teeth that need protecting!
Think of it this way: to a child’s imagination, your teeth are the caped-crusaders, saving the day and allowing them to eat their yummy food. Gingivitis and plaque are the villains. Just like any saga goes – it’s a constant battle between good and evil!
Beginning at the ripe age of just 6 months, and continuing into toddlerhood, children develop their first set of pearly whites. Right off the bat, the difficulty is not only keeping them white, but also more importantly, keeping them cavity-free.
Just when the “terrible twos” pass and all that teething is beginning to pay off, children start to loose those baby teeth. Between the ages of 6 and 12 children – with the financial encouragement of the tooth fairy – replace those baby teeth with permanent teeth that will be with them for the rest of their adult life.
These two periods – each time your child has sprouted a new, complete set of teeth – illustrate the perfect opportunity to use dental sealants on the pits and fissures of your children’s teeth.
The crevices on the molar’s surface help break down food, but are also vulnerable to food particles to get stuck in and decay.
The tops of teeth aren’t flat. Teeth tops are actually grooved like hills and valleys (pits and fissures) to facilitate the crushing and deterioration of food so to be suitable to swallow. Being the omnivores we are, some teeth are best suited for tearing off food, while others are ideal for chewing and grinding. These grinding teeth are the best candidates for dental sealants, as they have the most irregularities in surface texture. By filling the crevices with sealants, this prevents the evil plaque and gingivitis from giving your children cavities.
The procedure is short, simple and non-invasive. After teeth are cleansed, an adhesive and the sealant itself are painted on the teeth. A light may be used to help harden the sealant, but overall it only takes about a minute for the sealant to form a protective shield. Sealants are virtually invisible, and are unnoticeable when a child talks or smiles. A couple minutes in your Ottawa dentist chair with a sealant application could protect your child’s teeth for as long as 5-10 years!
Dr. Jaleel is warm and friendly and invites your kids to get a great start to oral health and valuable habits. Dr. Jaleel wants your child to know that dentist trips can be fun and are beneficial to their well-being. Instilling healthy habits young will secure a lifetime of prosperity. Bring your family to your Ottawa dentist to seal the deal on their oral health.