Your teeth may be different sizes, colors, and even shapes. But even though they appear unique in their own way, each tooth has 5 sides. And to keep a high level of oral health, you have to maintain each tooth at every angle. That means implementing a healthy and effective oral hygiene routine very early.
The 5 Sides of Your Teeth
So, what are these five sides of your teeth? Well, you have:
- Occlusal – the top (the part of your teeth used for chewing)
- Mesial – the front side that touches the back side of the tooth in front.
- Distal – the most distant side of the tooth.
- Facial – the cheek side
- Lingual – the tongue side
Each of these sides requires attention during your hygiene routine. Without it, you are putting yourself at risk for tooth decay.
The Limits of Brushing
Brushing is everyone’s go-to when it comes to oral hygiene. Brushing at least twice each day is recommended. Some will brush after every meal.Others will brush only once each day. And some won’t brush at all. When you have braces you should brush after each meal.
Taking care of teeth by including brushing in your daily routine is important for oral health. Around 5-8 months of age, or once a tooth actually appears in the mouth, parents should begin brushing their child’s gums using toothpaste about the size of a piece of rice. This will help relieve teething pain. Parents should monitor their childrens’ brushing until about 7 or 8 years of age – making sure they are brushing for a full two minutes.
Unfortunately, brushing has its limits – even for those who brush after every meal. The tooth brush can not get between where teeth are touching. The result is a buildup of food and plaque. And this is where cavities most commonly form.
The Power of Daily Flossing
While many people brush their teeth every day, a little more than half admit to flossing only once per week, according to the National Institute of Health. Yet, without flossing, you leave two sides of each tooth not fully cleaned day after day.
Having a good flossing technique is vital for having good, healthy teeth and gums. Flossing needs to start early and be performed even where teeth are not in contact with other teeth, like large gaps.
The best flossing technique involves actual floss – not floss picks. You wrap the floss around your fingers and go down between each tooth into the gums. This should not be uncomfortable. If it is, you are either going too far into the gums, or need to floss more often. When you get to the gumline, you are going to make a “c” shape by wrapping the floss around one side of the tooth. Move the floss up and down to scrape off anything found along the curve of the tooth. Use a different section of the floss and repeat the same process against the adjacent tooth to ensure that plaque and bacteria that was just removed, from the first side of the tooth, is not deposited and embedded into a new location in the mouth,
For those with braces, having to maneuver the archwire may take a little more time and practice, but it will become a habit if it is done every day. This is the best way to insure you will get no cavities as a result of missing these traps.
Flossing Tips for Parents
Flossing properly from the very beginning can yield the greatest results for a healthy mouth. This means, as parents, it is important to teach your children how to floss to reduce the incidence of cavities. If you are unsure, there are many videos on Youtube.
Flossing should begin when your child has two teeth that are next to one another. It doesn’t matter how old your baby is – without getting between them, you are leaving your child susceptible to tooth decay, especially if they are eating soft foods including baby food, juice, or milk.
Because this aspect of dental hygiene is so important, parents should continue to help their child with flossing until they are about 11 or 12 years of age. You do not need to do it for them, but monitoring and making sure they are flossing and flossing properly is key.
Healthy Teeth on Every Side
At Demko Orthodontics, we want our patients to have the greatest chance of lifelong oral health. Therefore we believe that providing education about the proper way to care for teeth is so important. That way, when your orthodontic treatment is complete, you will have a set of beautiful, healthy teeth.
Ready for a consultation? Contact us today at one of our convenient locations.