Most people do not even think about brushing their teeth. You wake up each morning and reach for that toothbrush. Unfortunately, brushing alone is not going to keep your teeth strong and healthy. It takes a combination of three distinct steps to get that bright and healthy smile. The first step begins with the toothbrush, but it is what follows that is actually most important.
Brushing your teeth, flossing your teeth, and rinsing your entire mouth with a mouthwash product is the best way to guarantee tooth and gum health. Just brushing your teeth leaves plenty of tooth surfaces open to attack. Your mouth is filled with bacteria. These bacteria feed on sugar and create an acidic environment in your mouth. They bind themselves to your teeth and form a sticky film called plaque. Using your toothbrush will remove quite a bit of the plaque on your teeth, but leaves the plaque between the teeth and at the gum line. Here is where flossing and using a fluoride mouthwash becomes crucial.
The areas along the gums and between the teeth that are too difficult to reach with a toothbrush are excellent hiding places for plaque. Plaque that is left to harden between teeth will eventually harden into a substance called tarter. Although plaque is easy to remove from tooth surfaces through brushing and flossing, tartar can only be pried away from your teeth by a dentist. If you skip flossing and allow that tartar to harden on your teeth, eventually you will end up with a disease called gingivitis. This disease causes inflammation of the gums and can lead to infection in the gums, teeth and even surrounding bony areas. Gingivitis is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Flossing should be accomplished with a waxed or coated to glide between the teeth with minimal pressure. Your gums may bleed slightly when you begin flossing, but this will stop once that tartar and plaque is removed. Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash then removes the tiny food particles, plaque and tartar that is pulled from between your teeth by the floss. Mouthwash can also fit into spaces between teeth or in pockets in the gum area that are impossible to reach by brushing or flossing. Mouthwash will kill bacteria and depending on the type you purchase, might even whiten your teeth while you rinse.
The combination of brushing your teeth, daily flossing and rinsing with mouthwash are the 1-2-3 punch of healthy oral hygiene. Taking care of your smile might seem like a chore but it is well worth the effort. Strong teeth and healthy gums will last a lifetime with proper care and attention.