Seriously, How Healthy is Your Mouth? Answer a few questions, and you’ll find out:
- Your chances for cavities and problems
- How your habits help or hurt your teeth and gums
- Tips for avoiding trouble
Floss First or Brush First?
Flossing first makes brushing your teeth more effective by removing food that gets trapped between teeth. If handling floss flusters you, look for floss holders at the drugstore. When it’s time to brush, angle bristles 45-degree at the gum line, then brush gently, moving the brush back and forth. Then, rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to help get rid of any leftover plaque.
Go Easy With Toothpicks
If you don’t have floss, a toothpick will work to remove food stuck between teeth, but be gentle. It’s easy to press too hard and damage your gums, or even worse, break off a toothpick below the gum line. Floss helps remove food from between teeth better than a toothpick and fights plaque buildup by getting rid of bacteria that form there. Regularly using a toothpick to remove food trapped in a single area may indicate a bigger problem that requires a dentist’s attention.
Replace Your Toothbrush
Toothbrush bristles fray, flatten, and wear over time. To help keep your smile bright, replace your manual toothbrush every three or four months; for electric toothbrush heads, follow the manufacturer’s advice. Feeling sick? Avoid harboring germs by replacing your toothbrush at the beginning and end of your illness.
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