A: The American Dental Asociation recommends that you floss at least once a day. Brushing without flossing is like washing only 70 percent of your body – the other 30 percent remains dirty. If you haven’t flossed in a while, your gums may begin to bleed slightly. That is a good indication that your gums are in the early stages of gum disease, and will benefit from a regular flossing regimen.
A: To floss properly, follow these simple steps:
Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the rest around a finger on the opposite hand.
Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers. Using about one-half inch at a time, gently guide the floss between your teeth. Be careful not to force the floss into the gums.
When the floss reaches the gumline, curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide the floss gently into the space between the gum and the tooth, making sure it goes all the way down under the gum. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Rub the side of the tooth gently with up and down motions to move the floss away from the gum.
Read More Q: How do I floss properly?
A: Brushing and cleaning between your teeth is the best way to remove plaque and keep it from forming. You should brush twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush. Brush using a circular motion, making sure you brush your gums as well. Improper brushing, such as using a back and forth motion, can actually wear out your teeth or leave behind harmful deposits, especially near the gumline.
A: You should brush with a toothbrush with soft bristles. Be sure your toothbrush is the right size and shape to fit into all corners of your mouth. Your toothbrush should be replaced about every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are worn. Children’s brushes may wear out more quickly. Always look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance on the label of the toothbrush you choose, as well as on any dental product you purchase. Dental products that should have the ADA’s seal of acceptance may include toothpaste, tooth brushes, dental floss, interdental cleaners, mouth rinses and oral irrigators (waterpicks).
A: For a knocked-out permanent or adult tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your cheek and gums, or in milk. Get to your dentist’s office right away.
A: For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down. See your dentist as soon as possible.
A: If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress. See your dentist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
A: For toothaches, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between your teeth. Do not put aspirin on your aching tooth or gums; it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, contact your dentist.
A: If you think your jaw is broken apply cold compresses to control the swelling. Go to your dentist or a hospital emergency department immediately.
A: For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with a sharp or pointed instrument. See your dentist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.