Big Smile Dental

Chicago, listen up! Reassess your healthy oral habits for a brighter, better smile

You probably know brushing at least two times a day, along with daily flossing, is a healthy oral habit. However, did you know technique and floss matters? We want you to keep up the good, healthy habits that you have mastered, with some potential adjustments to do even better.

Don’t rush it. Brush for at least two minutes. Resist the temptation to shortchange yourself. Consider brushing your teeth in four segments, for 30 seconds each segment. Pick a song you like on your iPhone and brush to it. Better to overdo it time-wise than to underdo it.

That said, use a light touch. Brushing harder doesn’t mean brushing more effectively. In fact, aggressive brushing can actually damage your gums and excessive brushing can wear down the enamel that protects your teeth. Removing the plaque doesn’t require a lot of force.

You wouldn’t use old makeup, or drink or eat products past their expiration dates, right? The same thinking applies to replacing your toothbrush. If the brush appears frayed or worn, it won’t clean as well. Get a new brush every two to four months, or if it shows signs of wear.

Your teeth aren’t the only parts of the mouth that need to be brushed. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, back to front. Bacteria responsible for bad breath can build up at the back of your mouth. Your gums, too, shouldn’t be ignored as part of your daily brushing routine.

Flossing is as vital as brushing to move plaque from areas brushes can’t reach. Yet, many diligent brushers aren’t flossing enough or flossing effectively. It’s all in the technique. Be sure to slide the floss gently up and down on each side of the tooth. Don’t just quickly snap the floss in between each tooth. You should use a clean section of floss to remove plaque from either side of each tooth.

Don’t sip sugary drinks or suck on sugary candies throughout the day. When you do this, the bacteria in your mouth and sugars in the soda or food produce acids. Sipping or snacking is like your teeth are being bathed in acid, which erodes the enamel and promotes decay. Beware of drinks that are sources of hidden sugars such as fruit juices that are less fruity and more sugary, or those that are more acidic than you might realize (such as sports drinks).

And, of course, don’t forget to see Big Smile Dental on a regular basis. We can remove plaque with professional cleaning tools and techniques that aren’t available over-the-counter. To schedule an appointment, call 773-772-8400.