Three of the Most Commonly Overlooked Dental Hygiene Practices

a smiling woman holding a toothbrush

If there’s one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s that proper hygiene will keep us as far away from diseases as possible. But of all the hygiene practices a person can go through, dental hygiene is one of the most overlooked. And within dental hygiene itself, there are three commonly overlooked practices that people should really start doing again.

Some trusted dentists talks about what they thought dental practices constantly overlook, and why it’s bad:

Flossing

We’ve all heard it from our dentists before: you’re not flossing enough. And it turns out, they’re right. A recent study showed that only 30% of Americans floss their teeth regularly, with 32% of the population saying they don’t floss at all.

Why is flossing important? Well, brushing your teeth as hard and as vigorously as you can to get into all the nooks and crannies isn’t just ineffective, it’s dangerous. Hard brushing can lead to gum recession and enamel wear, among other issues. Flossing, on the other hand (and when done correctly), gets in between the nooks and crannies and effectively digs out stubborn pieces of food and can even release loose plaque.

Is it a hassle? Yes, it is, but it’s one of the most effective ways to make sure that you see your dentist as rarely as possible.

Brushing Your…Tongue?

Brushing your tongue is an important but ultimately overlooked aspect of proper dental hygiene. The rest of the world overlooks it as well. But is it really that important? Yes, cleaning your tongue is just as important as every other part of your dental health. In fact, it’s so important that not cleaning your tongue on a regular basis can pretty much invalidate all your other hygiene practices. At worst, it can even lead to other dental issues such as chronic bad breath, tooth decay, and even periodontal disease.

You can buy a tongue scraper if you want, but many dentists say that even a simple toothbrush can be enough to clean out your tongue. Yes, it sounds weird and it feels weird, but trust it’s important.

Keep Your Toothbrush Clean, Too

Toothbrush

So let’s say you brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly, use mouthwash, and you even clean your tongue. That’s all bases covered, right? Well, not exactly. Aside from flossing and tongue cleaning, one of the most overlooked aspects of dental hygiene isn’t a specific practice, but rather, a very specific tool.

Your toothbrush can be the cause of a number of dental issues. No matter how diligent you are with cleaning out your brush, millions of microorganisms can still be trapped within the bristles of a regular toothbrush. Rinsing it regularly doesn’t exactly get rid of them, and over time, these microorganisms can become hosts to dangerous types of bacteria that could get into your sensitive gums and cause diseases.

Do yourself a favor and replace your toothbrush regularly. The American Dental Association recommends keeping your toothbrush clean and dry before being stored and should be replaced every three to four months.

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