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Many people aren't getting the oral hygiene care they require. Today, our Ottawa dentists share 5 tips for improving your oral hygiene routine at home.

Professional dental cleanings are key when it comes to removing the tartar that's built-up on your teeth, and shouldn't be replaced by at-home only options. With that in mind, maintaining an excellent oral care regimen at home can significantly help limit the amount of tartar buildup between appointments. The following oral hygiene tips can help improve your at-home care routine.

1) Start a Timer

You have most likely heard how important it is to brush your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time. Lots of people attempt to estimate how long 2 minutes is while brushing their teeth and end up under brushing. Using a stopwatch or timer, like the one found in most smartphones, can help ensure you are brushing for the correct amount of time. 

Bonus tip: You can also try an electric toothbrush. Particularly useful are electric toothbrushes that have built-in timers and buzz or vibrate after they’ve been running for two minutes.

2) Think of Your Mouth as Having Four Quadrants When Brushing.

A helpful exercise for visualizing your teeth during brushing is to mentally divide your upper and lower jaws into four equal sections: upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right.

During your two minutes of brushing, aim to spend about 30 seconds brushing the fronts, backs, and chewing surfaces of all the teeth in one quadrant, before moving on to the next. This helps ensure you are giving all of your teeth equal care, and not accidentally neglecting some teeth in favour of others.

3) Try shaping your Floss into a C-Shape

Flossing is a critical component of optimal oral hygiene. To get the most out of your flossing, you generally don’t want to just saw the floss up and down between your teeth a couple of times.

To achieve the best outcome, you should pull the floss into a c-shape around a tooth, and gently move it up and down the sides. Then repeat the same steps on the other tooth by pulling your floss into a c-shape in the opposite direction. Think of the C as hugging the tooth being flossed, curving around its form.

This will help you give each tooth a careful cleaning.

4) Keep Your Floss Somewhere Highly Visible

If you often forget to floss your teeth, you are allowing bacteria and food particles to linger in those tight areas. Over time, this can cause tooth decay and bad breath, so it really is important to remember.

If you have trouble remembering to floss, start leaving your floss out in plain sight, somewhere you’re sure to see it. Ideally, keep it right next to your toothpaste and toothbrush. It might seem overly simple, but sometimes little changes like this can have a massive impact on your ability to develop new habits.

5) Replace Your Toothbrush on a Regular Basis

Your toothbrush is a hardworking tool, and it can start wearing down fairly quickly. You should replace your toothbrush every three months at a minimum, but more frequently if it starts to show wear sooner.

To help you determine when to replace your toothbrush, take a good look at it. If the bristles are bent, frayed, or flattened, it’s probably time to get a new toothbrush. Many toothbrushes have bristles that are blue in colour. The blue will start to fade over time, and when it’s about half gone you should replace your toothbrush.

Contact our Ottawa dentists today to get more brushing and flossing tips.

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