Our Top 10 Tips For Oral Hygiene
Brushing and flossing are part of a good dental routine. However, there are other things you can do to help maintain healthy teeth and gums that can benefit your overall well-being.
1. Brush Your Teeth At Least Twice Daily
Keeping your teeth clean and healthy begins with regular maintenance. Brushing for two minutes at a time twice a day will help to keep plaque at bay. Patients with children should introduce this concept early, and find ways to make it fun.
To make it easier to clean every tooth, try to spend 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth. Using small circular motions, angle the head of the brush towards the gums. Be sure to clean all surfaces, as well as along the gum line, both on the fronts and backs of your teeth. Some patients find using an electric toothbrush helps as well.
2. Floss Every Day Before Bed
It's recommended to floss every night before brushing to remove anything your toothbrush is unable to dislodge. If you only brush and decide you don't need to floss, small particles of food and other deposits are missed and can eventually cause decay. To avoid this, make sure you take two minutes a day to floss. When you first start flossing, it may cause sensitive gums to hurt. This is natural and will stop in a few days. Make sure you slide the floss up and down along the whole tooth. Don't ignore tight spaces, these are the most important places to floss as your toothbrush can't reach them.
3. Replace Old Toothbrushes
As a general rule, you should get a new toothbrush every 3 to 6 months. Damaged or frayed toothbrushes can't clean the surface of your teeth correctly and can cause damage to your gums. Replacing your toothbrush often also allows you to help keep it clean. Always rinse your toothbrush well and store it so it can dry. Remember to replace your toothbrush if you've been sick to prevent bacteria from being re-introduced into your mouth.
4. Visit Your Dentist Twice Yearly
By visiting your dentist on a regular basis for routine examinations they will be able to help spot any potential issues before they begin. During your routine visit, you will also receive a professional cleaning, removing any buildup of plaque and tartar, which helps to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
5. Stick to a Nutritional Diet
Avoiding sweetened foods (such as pop, sports drinks, and candy) as well as including foods high in calcium will help to support strong and healthy teeth. As a side benefit, your body will thank you, too. Some foods that will help to strengthen your teeth include leafy greens, almonds, yogurt, and cheese. Speak to your dentist for recommendations of foods that will help keep your teeth strong for years to come.
6. Use the Appropriate Products
While daily brushing and flossing are a large part of your oral hygiene routine, there are a number of other dental care supplements that can help ensure optimal oral health. Examples of these products include mouthwash, oral irrigators, interdental cleaners, and tongue cleaners. These aids can help support good oral health and should be used in conjunction with regular brushing and flossing.
7. Drink Plenty of Water
Did you know that your saliva helps to protect your teeth? Saliva aids in dental health by moving food particles through your mouth, preventing most of them from lodging in your teeth where bacteria can grow. It also helps to keep your mouth comfortable. By drinking enough water you will be able to help coat your teeth and care for your dental health.
8. Quit Smoking or Never Start
Smoking causes superficial concerns, such as tooth staining, as well as severe health issues like gum disease which can lead to tooth loss and oral cancer, among other issues. If you smoke then one of the major steps that you could take in caring for both your oral and overall health is to quit.
9. Ask Your Dentist About Dental Sealants
Your dentist will utilize dental sealants to fill the depressions and grooves (fissures) of your molars and premolars, helping to protect your teeth from cavities and plaque. Sealants can help many people, but children and teens are good candidates as they often don't brush as well as adults, leading to a higher rate of cavities.
10. Take a Look at You Teeth and Gums Often
Routine professional dental care and cleanings are a great way to provide ongoing care for your teeth and gums but sometimes problems may begin to develop in between these visits. To prevent major concerns, you should do a quick scan of the inside of your mouth as part of your daily routine.
If you take a look at your teeth and something seems out of the ordinary you should contact your dentist to have a full examination. Regular self-exams are beneficial to maintaining your health.