A good oral hygiene routine between visits to the dentist is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. The naturally-occurring bacteria in all of our mouths gravitate toward the food particles left behind after meals, and the chemical reaction that occurs between them results in decay-causing acid. Dr. Thomas Faiver, your dentist in East Lansing, MI, has answered a few of the common questions he hears from patients about how they can improve the way they clean their teeth at home.
How often should I brush my teeth?
Brushing after every meal is ideal for keeping plaque from collecting on the teeth, but that's not always feasible. Your East Lansing dentist recommends all patients try to brush at least twice a day for two minutes at a time. Dividing the mouth into quadrants - upper right, lower right, lower left, upper left - and spending 30 seconds on each section will help break up the time and ensure you're getting your all teeth thoroughly clean.
Why is flossing important?
It may seem like brushing is enough to keep your teeth healthy, but food particles can collect in the narrowest of spaces between the teeth, areas where a toothbrush cannot effectively reach. Carefully wedging floss in between each tooth breaks up these particles and disrupts the process of plaque formation and bacteria collection on the gums and teeth. Flossing should be a daily activity, as it takes very little time for plaque to develop.
How can I get better about flossing regularly?
Many of your East Lansing dentist's patients have trouble sticking to a flossing routine. The advent of the flossing picks - disposable plastic tools with a section of floss on them - has made the process of flossing easier, but making it a habit can still be a challenge. Try keeping several picks in an area where you'll be more likely to use them - the car, next to your bed, or in your purse or backpack - and mark off each day that you floss on a calendar so you can see your progress in action.
To learn more about good dental hygiene, make an appointment with Dr. Faiver today. Contact our office in East Lansing, MI, to get started on your road to better oral health!