When it comes to your teeth, you want them to last as long as possible, preferably your entire life. However, there are some things you could be doing – or not doing – that could be reducing the amount of time you have with your teeth. In fact, some of those practices could be directly related to tooth decay, gum disease, and premature tooth loss. Luckily, premature tooth loss doesn't have to be part of your future. Here are three steps you can take to keep your gums and teeth as healthy as possible.
Use a Proper Brushing Technique
You've been brushing your teeth for a long time. That doesn't mean you're using the proper technique. Unfortunately, using the wrong brushing technique could leave plaque and bacteria on your teeth. To make sure you get the most out of your toothbrush, make sure you're using it properly. The first thing you need to do is make sure that the bristles are making contact with the entire surface of your teeth, as well as your gums.
Second, make sure you're using both an up-and-down, and a side-to-side motion when you're brushing. Third, be sure that the bristles are at a 45-degree angle against your teeth before you begin brushing. That angle will ensure that the edge of the bristles can get below the gum line. Finally, don't forget to brush your tongue. There are a lot of germs and bacteria living on the surface of your tongue that can lead to tooth decay and bad breath.
Start the Day with a Floss
You might not have enough time to floss your teeth after each meal, or even twice a day. However, to keep your teeth and gums healthy, you need to find time to floss at least once a day. If you can only floss once a day, make sure it's first thing in the morning. Flossing your teeth in the morning will remove the plaque and bacteria that built up in your mouth overnight, and will allow you to start the day with clean teeth and gums.
Say No to Tobacco Use
If you smoke, or use smokeless tobacco – such as snuff or chew – you need to discontinue the practice. Tobacco use can cause many different types of health and dental problems including tooth loss, gum disease, and even oral cancer. If you're having a hard time kicking the habit, talk to your dentist about a smoking cessation program.