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Get Healthy Teeth

September 11, 2007

man-teeth1_2.jpgWhat is the most often overlooked foundation of a healthy lifestyle? Dental health. Working out and eating a nutritious diet aren’t the only foundations of a healthy lifestyle: proper daily dental care is essential too.According to the American Dental Association, an estimated 85 to 90 percent of Americans fail to floss regularly. And chew on this: If you only brush, you miss cleaning more than 30 percent of your tooth surface. Flossing helps remove the plaque and bacteria between teeth, where a toothbrush can’t reach. The consequences of failing to floss? Plaque buildup can lead to gum disease and tooth loss

So, if you’re part of the majority, it’s time to start taking better care of your teeth. Besides taking a trip to your dentist, check out these fundamentals on keeping healthy pearly whites.

Brushing Basics
You have to clean your teeth at least twice a day, preferably after meals and before bed. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles. You know you need a new brush when the bristles get worn down.

Place the brush at a 45-degree angle where the teeth meet the gums. Press firmly and gently rock the brush back and forth using small, circular movements. Do not scrub. “Brushing too hard can cause gum recession and can wear away the enamel, which is the first of three tooth layers,” says Dr. Marc Lowenberg, a cosmetic dentist in New York City. “Brushing the second layer, called the dentin, too vigorously causes tremendous sensitivity because it wears away the tooth structure and gets closer to the third layer, which is the nerve tissue directly under it.” Brush all sides of the teeth, using short back-and-forth strokes for the chewing surfaces. Don’t forget your tongue; plaque and bacteria collect there too.

Flossing Facts
Floss at least once a day, choosing the type and flavor you like best. For the finger-wrap method, use a piece of floss about 18 inches long. Wrap one end around the left middle finger and the other around the right middle finger, until your hands are about two inches apart. Work the floss between the teeth toward the gums. Curve the floss around each tooth into a U-shape and gently slide under the gum line. Move the floss firmly up and down several times to scrape off plaque. And don’t be too quick – popping the floss in and out between your teeth without scraping will not remove much plaque and can hurt your gums.

Toothpaste Bites
These days, with so many options and differing opinions, choosing toothpaste can be a confusing undertaking. We asked two dentists to give us their evaluations of the more popular choices.

One thing they both agree on: It’s the actual brushing and flossing to remove plaque that’s most effective in preventing decay, gum disease and bad breath, not the type of toothpaste. That’s more about personal preference.


One Comment leave one →
  1. December 20, 2007 10:50 pm

    very interesting. i’m adding in RSS Reader

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