“Your smile is so key to your confidence,” says Dr. Frank Roach, Atlanta dentist. “And the best way to keep your smile looking great is to invest in a quality dental hygiene routine. A healthy smile is a beautiful smile.”
But how can you tell if you have a healthy smile? Dr. Frank Roach says, “You should never assume when it comes to your oral health – always see your dentist regularly for check-ups. But some good indicators that you’re headed in the right direction are pink gums, teeth that feel smooth and clean rather than fuzzy, generally good breath, and gums that don’t bleed when you brush or floss.”
Still not sure? Here are some tips on developing a dental hygiene routine that will help you keep your smile happy and healthy.
Dr. Frank Roach Encourages Good Brushing Habits
“Most people know they should be brushing twice a day,” says Dr. Frank Roach. “But for brushing to be really effective there are a few extra steps you should be taking.”
He recommends brushing for two whole minutes during each session. “The easiest way to think about it is to divide your mouth up into four quadrants,” explains Dr. Frank Roach. “Top left, top right, bottom left, and bottom right. Spend 30 seconds brushing each quadrant.”
You should also be holding your brush at a 45-degree angle towards your gums rather than laying the surface of the brush flat on your teeth. Make sure you hit all the surfaces of your teeth including the front, the back, and the top.
Flossing Is Key Says Dr. Frank Roach
“Flossing is the fastest and easiest way to whiten your smile,” says Dr. Frank Roach. “When you floss, you’re removing plaque and particles that can yellow your teeth and mar your smile.” While flossing seems pretty straight forward, there are some tips for optimal flossing results.
Make sure you’re flossing once a day. “Preferably before bedtime,” says Dr. Frank Roach. “While you’re sleeping, the food particles stuck between your teeth start to decay and promote bacteria growth which can lead to plaque and cavities.”
Use about 45 centimeters of floss and wrap the ends around your fingers. Gently lower it between your teeth. “Don’t force the string or you could pop your gum and cause painful irritation. Use a gentle sawing motion instead to get past tight squeezes,” advises Dr. Frank Roach.
Follow the curve of your tooth to scrape the sides fully and avoid digging into your gums. As you move from tooth to tooth, use one finger to wind up the dirty floss and the other to release the clean floss.
Always Rinse and Spit Says Dr. Frank Roach
After you brush and floss, rinse with mouthwash or warm water. Rinsing your mouth ensures that any loose particles caused by brushing and flossing are swept away.
“I prefer mouthwash because it has bacteria-killing agents in it,” says Dr. Frank Roach. “But warm water works just as well when it comes to removing any loose plaque or food particles. Just gently swish and then spit into the sink.”