“I’m just too busy”, one of the most common reasons given by people surveyed for not regularly brushing and flossing their teeth. It is a fact that many Australians are working longer hours and balancing more extra-curricular activities than ever before, making time for brushing and good dental care even harder.
But, do you have 2-3 minutes (less time than a commercial break!) twice a day? That’s all that’s required to look after your teeth and save yourself the pain, cost, and inconvenience that comes with dental diseases such as gum disease and gingivitis.
Good oral hygiene is all about routine and regular maintenance. A small travel kit that can be used on the run is a great help, as is a maintenance plan with your dental hygienist and dentist. These ensure that your dental health is being managed anywhere, anytime.
Brushing your teeth should take around 2 minutes. Having a 2-minute timer set up is a great way to keep consistent with this (some electric brushes have this feature inbuilt). Playing a song or using one of the available smartphone apps can be very helpful in encouraging kids to brush for the correct duration.
Effectively brushing your teeth twice a day is the foundation of good home care. Although most give it very little thought, the technique and the toothbrush you use have a big impact on the result of your brushing.
A systematic approach is best, and starting and finishing in the same place every time increases the chances of not missing any surfaces. The brush should be angled at 45 degrees to the gum line and small circles with gentle pressure should be made. It is important to clean not only the outside and top surfaces, but also the inside surface closest to the tongue/roof of the mouth that is often missed.
For many, an electric toothbrush may be a better option since it largely does all the work for you and is gentle on the gums. The same systematic approach and 45-degree angle is used, however as the toothbrush has its own rotating/oscillating action, it simply needs to be guided tooth by tooth until all the surfaces have been cleaned.
4 THINGS THAT MAKES FLOSSING EASIER
1. Learn the correct technique – A dental professional can teach you the right technique so you can floss efficiently from the word go*.
2. Use a floss threader – Ideal if you have braces or a bridge, these are loops of fibre that thread floss into small places around your teeth.
3. Use a floss pick – Made up of two prongs with dental floss strung between them, they’re perfect if you struggle with traditional flossing techniques.
4. Whilst flossing before bed is ideal, it is ok to floss in the morning instead if night times are too busy.
Alternatives to flossing:
For a variety of reasons, some people find it very difficult to floss effectively. The good news is that there are alternatives available for cleaning in between your teeth and removing food debris from between your teeth and below your gum line.
- Interdental cleaners – Resembling bottle brushes that are available in a range of different widths, these cleaners are often more suitable to use than floss if you have large gaps between your teeth. They’re also a great option if you have braces, missing teeth or gum disease.
- Irrigators – These are electrical devices that use a steady stream of water to remove plaque and food debris from between your teeth and below your gum line.
- Interdental tips – Flexible rubber tips that run gently along the gum line to clean away plaque and food from between your teeth and below your gum line.
2-3 minutes is all it takes, remember, you’re never too busy to brush!