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April 15, 2014

Oral Health Basics: The proper tools and habits

(Protégez-Vous in partnership with the Ordre des dentistes du Québec)

Brushing your teeth and using dental floss are the foundation of good oral health, as long as you follow a few basic guidelines.

The Ordre des dentistes du Québec recommends brushing your teeth twice a day, morning and night, but ideally after each meal. You should brush for at least two minutes, using a circular, not a back-and-forth movement, without applying too much pressure. Make sure you brush the entire surface of every tooth. For fresher breath, brush your tongue as well.

Choosing the right toothbrush

With the vast array of toothbrushes available on the market, picking the right one can be confusing. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose a toothbrush with a small, round tip: it makes it easier to cover hard-to-reach places.
  • Select a brush with soft or extra-soft bristles to preserve tooth enamel and protect your gums.
  • Make sure the handle has a good grip.
  • Replace your toothbrush (or the toothbrush head of your electric brush) when the bristles are bent or you see a white buildup at the base of the bristles – usually every three months.
  • If you use an electric toothbrush, select an oscillating and pulsating model with replaceable heads.

When it comes to proper oral care, technique is everything! Here is more information on how to brush your teeth.

The importance of flossing

Flossing removes the plaque between teeth that cannot be reached with a toothbrush. If plaque is not removed every day, it can harden into tartar, which builds up over time. Plaque and tartar buildup can lead to diseases of the gums (gingivitis) and supporting bones (periodontitis).

That is why daily flossing, preferably before bedtime, is so important. You can floss before or after brushing, just make sure you use the correct technique.

Do I need mouthwash?

Mouthwash should never be used on its own, since it is not as effective as brushing and flossing.

The alcohol contained in mouthwash can also dry the tissues in your mouth, causing other problems, like bad breath. If you want to use mouthwash, ask your dentist which product is best for you.

EIGHT Habits of Good Oral Health

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes using a brush with soft or extra-soft bristles.
  2. Use toothpaste with fluoride.
  3. Floss once a day, preferably at bedtime.
  4. Replace your toothbrush when the bristles are bent (usually after three months).
  5. Check your teeth, gums and mouth regularly.
  6. Eat a balanced diet, limiting sugary drinks and food.
  7. Do not use tobacco products.
  8. See your dentist on a regular basis.

To learn more:

La visite chez le dentiste, Protégez-Vous May 2010
Le brossage: le dentifrice, Protégez-Vous May 2010

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The uniprix.com Website deals with health-related topics. The information presented has been validated by experts and is accurate at the time of posting. In no way does it replace the opinion of a health care professional. Uniprix Inc. and its affiliated pharmacists accept no liability whatsoever in connection with the information provided on this Website.