The mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria, which build up as plaque if not removed thoroughly. Plaque can lead to cavities, tartar, gingivitis, and ultimately, tooth loss. The good news is that bacterial growth can be controlled through good oral hygiene. Several elements of dental care contribute to optimal health of the mouth and teeth. Dentists have long promoted the abbreviation “FBI” as a memory aid for good oral hygiene. In the dental world, “FBI” stands for “floss, brush, and irrigate.”
Flossing removes food and plaque from between the teeth and below or above the gum line where toothbrushes may not reach. This is one of the best things you can do for good oral hygiene. The important thing to remember is to be gentle. Any bleeding that occurs will be reduced with continued daily flossing.
Of course, brushing is still a must. Clean your teeth twice daily with a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste, and chew xylitol-sweetened gum to increase saliva and neutralize acid between brushings.
Irrigation, or rinsing, with mouthwash is another key facet of good oral hygiene. The product should have antimicrobial properties to kill bacteria and inhibit plaque. Ask your dentist if he or she recommends a fluoride rinse. Another habit to establish is swishing the mouth with water after each meal. This removes food particles and washes away some of the acid that forms after eating.
Good oral hygiene does not have to be complicated, but it does require dedication for optimal results. Regular visits to your dentist are also critical for total health. When you enroll with EDP Dental Plan, you can save up to 70 percent on dental costs, making it easier to stick to your oral care routine. Call (631) 272-5230 or register online to start saving and smiling.