Nighttime oral health care is just as important as taking care of your teeth during the day. According to your dentist, bacteria inside your mouth increases, and although you are sleeping, oral hygiene at night is vital in order to avoid bacteria breaking down food particles that you may have missed while brushing and flossing.

According to the American Dental Association, your nighttime oral hygiene ritual should consist of three steps, brushing followed by flossing and finally rinsing with a good mouthwash. Your dentist explains that as long as you get rid of the plaque and food particles, the bacteria in your mouth won’t stand a chance of surviving.

Most dentists advise that you brush before flossing. Brushing your teeth before you floss makes it much easier for the floss to do its job. The mouthwash is the final step getting rid of anything that you may have missed in the first two steps.

When you brush your teeth, you are protecting your pearly whites from tooth decay and plaque buildup. Use fluoride toothpaste and make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush as hard bristled brushes can damage your gums. Brush your teeth gently back and forth. Use short strokes at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Work your way through to the inner surfaces of your teeth followed by the chewing surfaces. Use the toe part of your soft bristled toothbrush to clean the back of the front teeth buy gently stroking up and down.

By flossing your teeth, you are reaching the plaque that you were not able to remove with your toothbrush. When you floss once a day, you are helping to prevent gum disease. Your dentist recommends that you use about an 18” string of floss. Wind the majority of it around your middle finger. This allows you to manage your floss as it starts to get dirty. Hold the rest of the floss between your forefingers and your thumbs before gently guiding the floss in between your teeth. When you move towards your gum line, curve your dental floss against each tooth in the shape of a C rubbing against each tooth. At the root of each tooth, slide your floss gently between the tooth and the gum. Work slowly as you move your floss in an up and down motion away from your gums. Repeat these steps for the rest of your teeth, and don’t forget the last teeth on the bottom and top.

Follow your brushing and flossing with a mouthwash that is recommended by the ADA. This will help keep plaque at bay and your breath fresh.

Good oral hygiene and regular checkups are imperative for healthy teeth and gums, and if you haven’t seen your dentist in the last six months, schedule your appointment today. 

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