December 8, 2021
Toronto, ON – The Ontario Dental Association (ODA) is spreading festive cheer by giving everyone the gift of better dental knowledge. While we all know we should floss every day, do you really know why? And what about the proper order to brush, floss and use mouthwash? And how much toothpaste should you be using? You’ll find all the answers here! And in case you were wondering, this present of knowledge is one we’re more than happy for you to re-gift to others.
Flossing: Flossing isn’t just about clearing debris from between your teeth, it also disrupts bacterial growth. Think of it like preventing a colony of millions of germs from taking up space in your gums. Healthy gums also mean less inflammation and less chance of developing or worsening other serious health problems like diabetes, heart disease or dementia.
Maintain order: When it comes to cleaning your mouth, flossing should always come first, followed by mouthwash (if you use any) and then brushing goes last. This is because toothpaste has fluoride to coat and protect your teeth and using mouthwash after brushing would wash it away.
Don’t rinse: This may be a hard habit to break but you should not rinse your mouth with water after brushing your teeth. Let the fluoride in toothpaste do its work to help prevent cavities. This is also why you’re only supposed to use a small (pea size) amount of toothpaste when you brush.
Easy on the mouthwash: You may be tempted to use mouthwash throughout the day to keep your breath fresh. Alcohol-based mouthwash can cause dry mouth, irritate sores and damage your cheeks, gums and tongue if overused. And remember, it’s NOT a substitute for flossing and brushing!
Brush your tongue: Whenever you’re brushing your teeth, be sure to give your tongue a scrub while you’re at it. Tiny food particles and film from certain foods and beverages can coat your tongue and cause a stink if not brushed away.
Watch out for stress: The holidays can be a stressful time and the pandemic can make it worse. Grinding and clenching teeth, especially during sleep, is a common warning sign of too much stress and it can lead to broken teeth, jaw pain and headaches. Night guards can help, so talk to your dentist about it.
About the ODA
The ODA has been Ontario’s primary source for dental information since 1867 and represents over 10,000, or 90 per cent, of dentists in the province. For more dental care tips and COVID-19 updates, including what to expect at your next dental appointment, go to www.oda.ca.