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It’s a strange world indeed when poor toothbrushing habits have become the least important concern as far as oral hygiene goes.

A February 2021 survey by the American Association of Endodontists reveals that oral health took a hit since the pandemic began. One out of four respondents said they waited until late morning to brush their teeth, while 21% didn’t brush in the morning at all. Moreover, 24% said they floss less, while 23% stopped flossing altogether. Apparently, it’s been two years of forgotten or postponed dental checkups as well as increased candy consumption.

These statistics are harrowing, but that’s not all. Oral hygiene problems aren’t just rooted in dental care. Stress, diet, underlying medical conditions can also affect oral health. Another survey, this time by the American Dental Association, shows a rise in stress-related dental conditions, such as teeth grinding, cracked teeth, and jaw pain. Stress also leads to poor lifestyle habits. For example, gorging on cake and cookies leads to an increase in cavities and gum disease. It’s a never-ending cycle, you understand.

Your teeth are unwitting victims to the anxiety that continues to sweep the world. If this isn’t a sign to up your toothbrushing to the next level, we don’t know what is. Read our lips: brush up—on your brushing techniques!

Technique Counts As Much As Your Tools

When it comes to brushing your teeth, consider two things: technique and toothpaste.

You may have the world’s fanciest toothbrush, but that’s not going to do jack if you don’t know how to use it. The American Dental Association recommends the Bass method, which means holding the toothbrush parallel to your teeth with the bristles tilted towards the gums. Scrub with short up and down strokes. It covers the gum line as well as the enamel. Use a back and forth motion for the chewing surface.

Here are some other tips to remember when brushing your teeth.

Don’t brush too hard.

A 10-second rigorous brush isn’t as effective as three minutes of careful and determined strokes. When it comes to maintaining healthy teeth, you should exercise care and precision. Make sure to cover every tooth and every surface, especially the backsides.

Create a toothbrushing routine.

The mouth may seem small, but there’s a lot of area to cover. Come up with a mental sequence: front first, sides second, molars third, bottom row fourth, backsides fifth, tongue sixth, and so on. This way, you build a toothbrushing habit and eventually brush on autopilot.

Use effective toothpaste.

Good toothpaste works hand in hand with proper technique. Ingredients like fluoride, silica, and zinc fight cavity-causing bacteria and plaque. Cover all your oral care needs with a product that has all three. closeup All Around Fresh Cool Mint Toothpaste and Soothing Menthol Toothpaste, which also have peppermint and spearmint, respectively, to complement your super-clean mouth with a fresh feel.

Brush at least twice a day.

Learn how to prevent bad breath by going above and beyond your oral hygiene care. Apart from brushing twice a day—at least!—the ADA recommends “interdental cleaning” in between. This refers to using dental floss, toothpicks, interdental brushes, and oral irrigators.

Note That Your Oral Hygiene Reveals Your Lifestyle

Do you love coffee? Unfortunately, it doesn’t love your teeth back.

That’s right. Poor oral health isn’t just a consequence of improper toothbrushing habits. It could reflect lifestyle choices, such as smoking, drinking coffee or alcohol, or a penchant for sweets. Seemingly innocent habits, like nail-biting and chewing on ice, can also cause tooth decay. If you can, try to cut back on activities that could be detrimental to your teeth and mouth.

However, some medications can make your teeth and gums sensitive or prone to plaque. If this is the case, consult a specialist.

Have an Outlet for Stress

Find a release for your anxiety, such as doing CrossFit or taking up a hobby, so you don’t take it out on your teeth. Stress is typically the culprit behind bruxism, which is the fancy term for teeth grinding. You may not always be aware if you grind your teeth since it usually happens when you’re asleep. By the time you realize it, it’s likely because you’re already feeling tooth or jaw pain or your dentist notices wear on your molars during your twice-a-year checkup.

Bruxism affects oral hygiene because it can result in broken fillings, tooth loss, inflammation, and infection.

Don’t Miss Your Dental Appointments

Dentists take extra precaution when it comes to wearing protective gear, but if you’re still wary, opt for an online consultation instead.

Dentists can also spot oral hygiene concerns that stem from a simple dental issue, apart from the usual cleaning, filling, and maintenance. For example, dental misalignment can cause food bits to catch in particular areas of your teeth. This same problem can also lead to bruxism.

Your teeth change as you age, so it’s important to have them regularly assessed to see if they’re causing deeper oral health problems. If you’re wary about visiting your dentist, opt for teleconsultations instead.

Toothbrushing is only one step in oral hygiene. The best tip to taking care of your oral health is to embrace a wholesome, well-rounded healthy lifestyle.