Tips for keeping a happy mouth and healthy smile!
Contrary to popular belief, gum disease is not the inevitable outcome for every mouth. Here are some easy steps anyone can take to improve oral health.

Floss, floss, floss!
Flossing is the easiest way to keep plaque at bay between dental visits, and an essential method for preventing gum disease. All it takes is a few minutes a day to make a huge impact on your oral health.

Take you time, it's not a race
Too many people rush through their brushing routine. To ensure you are getting the full benefit of a proper brushing, you need to brush your teeth for a full two to three minutes, at least twice per day. To increase the fun factor, try keeping some music by the sink and listening to a full song as you brush.

Presto Change-o!
Regular changing of your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head is essential for good oral health. Old bristles are ineffective and may harbour harmful bacteria that can contribute to gum disease and gingivitis. Switch out your brush every three to four months, preferably to a soft head, before the bristles become spread out and frayed.

Suck it up, Buttercup!
If you just can't bear to eliminate sugary drinks from your diet, make sure you use a straw when you drink them. This will minimize the contact the sugar has with your teeth, and should help with avoiding cavities.

Just say no to gas!
Not only do carbonated beverages give rise to belching and other tummy troubles, they also cause cavities and erode precious tooth enamel. It's best to avoid these drinks, and replace them with healthier options like water and milk.

Chew your way to better teeth
Sugarless gum containing xylitol is an excellent option for cleaning teeth and freshening breath between meals and after snacks. Chewing gum aids in preventing cavity-causing bacteria from sticking to the teeth. It also increases saliva production, which helps to wash the bacteria away and reduce bad breath.

Don't rush to brush
If you've consumed any food or drinks that have a high level of acidity, wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth. The acid in coffee, citrus fruits, soft drinks and wine can weaken enamel, a condition which is then exacerbated by brushing too soon. Give your teeth some time to recover, and have a drink of water, chew some sugarless gum or use an alcohol-free mouthwash to minimize any residue.

The Proper Way to Brush and Floss Your Teeth
There is some mystery involved in achieving the proper technique for your cleanest mouth. It can be all too easy to fall into familiar patterns of brushing, possibly missing some key areas and leading to an increase in harmful plaque and bacteria.

Your Best Brushing Technique
For proper brushing, position your toothbrush at a 45degree angle against your gums. Move your brush back and forth, using gentle, tooth-wide strokes. Be sure to brush the inner and outer surfaces of each tooth, as well as the chewing surfaces. Using the tip of your brush and a gentle up and down stroke, clean the inside surfaces of your front teeth on the top and bottom. Finally, don't forget to brush your tongue to remove any residual bacteria and freshen breath.

Proper Flossing Style
Gather approximately 18 inches (about 45 centimetres) of floss, winding it around the middle fingers of each hand. For control, you'll need to hold the floss tightly between your thumb and forefingers. Gently guide the floss between your teeth with a slow, rubbing motion until you reach the gum line. Now, curve the floss into a C shape against the tooth, gently sliding it into the space between your gum and the tooth. Next, return the floss to the contact point between the two teeth. Moving the floss either up or down the other side, conform the floss to the shape of the tooth and hold it tightly in place. Gently rub the side of the tooth, using an up and down motion to move the floss away from your gums. Repeat the process on the rest of your teeth.

How Do I Choose a Toothbrush?
There are so many styles, brands and options when choosing a toothbrush, it can be an overwhelming task to find the one that's right for you. Do you go for the angled head, or the one with a built-in tongue scraper? Will the bi-level bristles serve you better than an electric model? Should you get the one that sings? With each new innovation, the list of choices grows, along with the confusion over which toothbrush really is best!

So far, there is no real scientific backing for any particular style or brand. In reality, the toothbrush you choose isn't nearly as important as how you use it. By simply following the guidelines and techniques recommended by the Canadian Dental Association, any toothbrush you use will have the desired effect of removing plaque and cavity-causing bacteria. So be sure to brush carefully and purposefully for the recommended two to three minutes in order to successfully clean your teeth, ensuring a happy and healthy smile for years to come.


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