How to Properly Care for Your Teeth
Learn about the importance of oral hygiene with Novie Craven and Justin Hunsinger as they ask Dr. Miran Ho and Dr. Isaac Navarro, Smile Generation dentists, about oral hygiene care.
Why Your Oral Hygiene is Important
Learn about the importance of oral hygiene and how it impacts your overall physical health and wellbeing.
Important Steps for Good Oral Hygiene
Brushing..Step by Step
Everyone should brush their teeth at least twice each day. Learn how to correctly brush your teeth below.
Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
Press gently and scrub lightly in small circles from one side to the other.
Start with upper teeth, brushing outside, inside, and chewing surfaces.
Do the same for lower teeth. Be sure to brush each tooth.
To freshen breath, brush the tongue too, since it can harbor many bacteria.
Have your dentist or hygienist recommend the best method for you and provide instruction on how to perform it.
Rinsing....Step by Step
It's important to rinse after you're done brushing your teeth. Learn more about rinsing here.
Take recommended dose of a fluoride rinse (usually a capful), swish it around your mouth for 60 seconds.
Make sure to spit it out in the sink and take care not to swallow the rinse.
Flossing...Step by Step
Flossing is an important activity, and should be done once a day to keep your teeth in the best condition. Learn more about flossing here.
Take a piece of floss, approximately 18 inches long.
Wrap it around the index finger of each hand. You can also tie the ends together in a circle.
With the floss gripped between your thumb and index finger, gently work between the teeth until it reaches the gum.
Common Dental Problems to Look Out For
If you have any of these issues, make sure to talk about them with your dentist
Does your breath smell? Most causes of bad breath are related to problems of the mouth.
Do your teeth look blackish-bluish or yellowish? If so, make sure to have you dentist check to see if your teeth are healthy.
If you find yourself drooling a lot, talk to your Doctor about treatment options.
Missing or Broken Teeth
If you've lost or broken a tooth, make sure to go to the dentist as soon as possible. The sooner the treatment, the better the chance for successful outcomes.
Pain in your Teeth or Gums
Do your teeth or gums hurt? Medications can be given to relieve the pain and avoiding hot and spicy foods and drinks will diminish discomfort.
Swollen Face or Gums
Swelling often indicates a bigger issue. Your dentist should be consulted immediately to help prevent any further issues.
Adapting a Toothbrush
Don’t give up on brushing if the person is unable to hold a brush. Here are seven suggestions to modify a toothbrush.
Note that even when an individual cannot manipulate a regular toothbrush, they may be able to brush their teeth on their own by using an electric or battery-operated toothbrush.
Consider attaching the toothbrush to an individual’s hand by using a wide elastic band (taking care that the band is tight enough to secure the toothbrush but loose enough so that it does not constrict circulation).
Bend Brush Handle
Depending on the composition of the toothbrush, bending a brush handle to create a more conducive angle is sometimes possible by running very hot water over the handle (not the brush head) of the toothbrush, to soften the plastic
If an individual cannot raise his or her hand or arm, attaching extenders such as a ruler, tongue depressor, or wooden spoon can lengthen the toothbrush handle.
Create a Grip
If an individual possesses only limited grasping ability, enlarge the toothbrush handle by inserting it into a sponge, a rubber ball, or a bicycle handlebar grip. The thicker surface can enable them to hold it in their hand and brush on their own.
If an individual cannot hold his or her mouth open for the extended period of time to brush, consider trying a mouth prop. Examples of a mouth prop include three or four tongue depressors taped together, a rolled-up, moistened wash-cloth, or available online products.
There are two or three headed toothbrushes that line up the bristles and avoid discomfort on the gums. The proper size of the toothbrush head should be selected (small, medium, large).
Download our full Guide To Good Oral Health For Special Olympics Athletes for more information