How often do you really think about your oral health? We all (hopefully) brush our teeth between meals, but it’s almost instinctual and on autopilot for most. Although it’s often overlooked, oral health is actually essential to maintaining overall health. Developing good, long-term dental habits doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming and can prevent painful and costly problems in the future. By following this guide, you can keep your smile happy, healthy, and beautiful.
We should all brush our teeth every day, twice a day. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, the size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth so you can reach all areas easily. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and move the brush gently back and forth in short strokes for two minutes. Be sure to clean all surfaces inside your mouth – outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of the teeth, tongue, and cheeks.
Your toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months because a worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth. When choosing your toothpaste, consider whether or not it contains fluoride, if it contains any flavoring agents that could cause added sugar, and if you are looking for an active ingredient to help with something like tooth sensitivity or whitening.
Interdental cleaning, like flossing, allows us to clean places our toothbrush can’t reach, like between our teeth. If you leave flossing out of your routine, you are missing about 1/3 of your surfaces in your mouth, which allows for dangerous plaque build-up.
You should floss once a day, usually before bed is best in order to clean out any food particles from the day. If using traditional dental floss, wrap both ends of your floss around your middle fingers. Using your pointer fingers, pull a one-inch strip tight and slide gently between your teeth. Hugging the side of each tooth, pull the floss back and forth and up and down in order to ensure a complete clean. Repeat between all your teeth, including behind your back molars.
Watch out for harmful substances
Make sure you’re educated on what kinds of foods are helpful to oral health, and what kinds of foods are harmful for your teeth. Avoid ice, as chewing on hard surfaces can leave teeth vulnerable to damaged enamel. Limit your citrus intake, as the acid can lead to enamel erosion and tooth decay over time. Sticky foods, like dried fruit, can cause damage to you teeth because they stay around longer than other types of foods, which can cause a buildup of bacteria. Foods that are high in starch also tend to stick around longer, which can cause plaque buildup. Avoid sugary drinks such as sports drinks and sodas, as plaque and bacteria use their high sugar content to produce acids that attack your enamel.
See your dentist regularly
Routine, professional cleanings keep your teeth and gums in way better shape than you could just brushing and flossing every night. Plaque and bacteria that build up over a long period of time can embed themselves into the gum tissue and cause periodontal disease. Small cavities can be easily filled and managed, but if left untreated, can turn into a huge, painful problem.
At Cornerstone Family Dentistry, our mission is to make Nashville smile. Come see us twice a year, or every six months, to help prevent cavities, keep your whole body healthy, save money on costly procedures, and whiten your smile. Not only do we offer dental cleanings and checkups, but also a wide range of oral health services to keep your smile happy and healthy.