When should I floss? Before brushing or after brushing? Daily or once a week? How many times should I clean my tongue? After meals or once daily? Numerous questions pop in your mind while you stand in front of the mirror with a brush in your hand. Just like how it gets hazy when the mirror is dirty same holds true for the mouth as it is said “mouth is the mirror of the body”.
If the oral cavity is not maintained properly different diseases find it easy to attack the body’s immune system. Overdoing and underdoing both can affect your teeth and gums. So it might not be wrong to say that everyone must follow a general dental prescription to maintain the well-being of their teeth and gums.
The chronology of your dental hygiene regime is also equally important. Most of us may just pick up the brush when we wake up in the morning. But brushing comes third. You start with oil pulling, then floss your teeth, brush, clean your tongue and finally rinse with water or mouthwash.
Morning yoga for mouth with oil pulling
This is an age-old method where before the invention of brushes, oil was flushed in the oral cavity to reduce the bacterial count. Oils can range from sesame oil to sunflower oil to coconut oil. A tablespoon of this oil can be taken in the mouth and whirled for about 10-15 mins daily once a day. For beginners who are not used to this method can start with 5mins and thereby increase this duration over a period of time.
Oil pulling should be done before brushing and done on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. This method helps by removing bacteria present between the interdental spaces and every corner of the mouth where the brush cannot reach properly. According to studies done, one can come to know if the method is performed correctly when the oil spitted out becomes milky and thin inconsistency.
By whirling the oil, it reduces the number of bacteria named streptococcus mutans, reduces the inflammation of gums, and helps in removing bad breath. Oil pulling is advantageous in dry mouth and chapped lips too. Although on the other hand, it is completely contraindicated in children below the age of 5years. If it is practiced correctly and regularly the benefits can be surely seen. If you are finding a nourishing alternative to the conventional mouthwash you might give oil pulling a try.
Get in between your teeth with floss
Plaque is a layer that is made over time on the teeth and it is of utmost importance to remove this layer since it can later cause cavitation on the teeth over some time. Floss can be a waxed or flavored string that is used to clean the interdental spaces where food might get lodged. The basic use of floss is to clean and dislodge food particles and plaque in this area. It is highly recommended to individuals who have tight interdental spaces and have a higher tendency for lodgement of food in this area. It is recommended to use 12–18-inch floss wrapped around the fingers and use generously between the tooth spaces.
The overdo of flossing may result in spacing between the teeth and the area close to the gums. Over flossing may also irritate the gums and lead to inflammation (gingivitis). Fluoridated floss acts as a source of fluoride itself which in turn helps to strengthen the tooth and prevent decay. Under flossing or not flossing at all will invite tooth cavities eventually.
Flossing before brushing your teeth breaks open then plaque and tartar buildup between the teeth so when you brush your teeth using a fluoridated toothpaste, the fluoride reaches the areas between the teeth and prevents cavities from occurring in between them. Also brushing after flossing clears off the remaining debris and food stuck between the teeth which could be left out while flossing.
Brushing your teeth comes third
Brushing your teeth after oil pulling and flossing helps clear out all the remaining gross food particles, bacteria plaque and calculus in the entire mouth. One finds it cumbersome to brush their teeth, but on the other hand brushing is important as it helps to break the layer of bacteria that is formed on the tooth surface. According to American Dental Association, an individual should brush twice at least for two minutes.
Brushing your teeth more than 2 times a day can cause teeth sensitivity and yellow teeth as a result of wearing off teeth. The more you brush, the more is the wearing of teeth. Similarly brushing only once a day may not suffice and result in compromised oral hygiene. Hence it is very important to brush your teeth morning and before bed.
The most common misconception with brushing is “the harder the toothbrush much better the teeth are brushed and much whiter teeth are seen” counterpart to this is much harder the bristles of the brush more the wearing of teeth takes place and erodes the enamel layer. Therefore, soft bristles should be used which are easier on the teeth.
A toothbrush should be changed every three-four months or as soon as the bristles start to fray. If the bristles are frayed there is no way they are going to reach the interdental spaces of teeth and hence effective brushing will not take place.
If the direction of brushing and bristles are not correct then this may result in abrasion of the teeth which will result in sensitive teeth and also after some time expose the underlying roots. Brushing also helps to clean the cheeks, tongue and roof of the mouth(palate). Children below the age of three should have parent assistance and a rice grain of toothpaste should be used which is applied on a finger brush.
There’s still more cleaning to do
Even though one brushed their teeth twice, there might be a chance that the bad breath is still present. This is can happen as the tongue is not daily cleaned properly. Numerous times one notices that an individual has a white layer over their tongue, which looks quite nasty. This layer is formed due to the accumulation of bacteria and food debris overtime when the tongue is not cleaned properly. These particles after staying for a longer period of time can be a causative factor for bad breath. You may go hunting to find out the real reason of your bad breath and the reason could be failing to clean your tongue.
It is recommended to clean your tongue twice daily after brushing your teeth as this reduces the incidence of bacterial growth on the tongue. Start with cleaning your tongue from behind and scrape it towards the tip. You can never go wrong with over-cleaning your tongue. But yes! underdoing it or skipping it completely can cost you bad breath and poor oral hygiene and it’s consequences.
You’re almost there
Finally, rinse your mouth with water or a non-alcoholic mouthwash daily after you have completed all the steps to keep your mouth 100% free from bad bacteria. Along with all these tips to keep your mouth clean, also visiting the dentist is important. This dental prescription can reduce the chances of tooth decay and your dental problems away. On the other hand, if your tooth decay has started you have to visit the dentist in order to further prevent the loss of tooth.
- Your oral cavity is the reflection of your overall health
- Start with oil pulling for a brief of 10-15 mins daily first thing in the morning.
- Brush twice daily for two minutes
- Floss your teeth once daily to reach between the teeth to remove any remaining food particles or plaque
- Scrape your tongue twice daily as the second last step in your oral hygiene regime. Have a habit of scraping your tongue after meals if possible.
- Lastly rinse it all.
- Follow these 5 steps in your dental hygiene regime in the right order.