10 Tips for Healthy Teeth & Gums
The main parts of a proper dental care routine are brushing and flossing, but those aren't the only ways that you can help protect your mouth. Below are some of the other ways you can help protect your mouth.
1. Toothbrushing Should Happen Twice a Day
Routine care is the first step to oral health care. Two minutes of brushing a day is all you need in order to manage unwanted plaque. 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. Daily Flossing Habits
Flossing every evening will help to remove any food particles that are left over after brushing. If you only brush and decide you don't need to floss, small particles of food and other deposits that 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. It is important to make sure you slide the floss up and down along the whole tooth. Don't ignore tight spaces, these are the places that need the most thorough cleaning.
3. Toss Your Old Toothbrush
As a general rule, you should get a new toothbrush every 3 to 6 months. If your toothbrush bristles are damaged and frayed then you must replace them as these could actually cause more harm than good. 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. Twice Yearly Dentist Visits
Your dentist will be able to prevent issues before they start, or at least to catch them early if you have regular dental appointments. Regular visits also allow your teeth to get a thorough professional cleaning twice a year, removing any buildup of plaque and tartar, which helps to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
5. Always Eat a Healthy 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. Utilize Dental Hygiene Products Routinely
Brushing and flossing are key to preventive dental health, but you can help keep your teeth in top condition by incorporating supplemental aids into your routine as well. 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. Hydrate Often
Sufficient hydration is not only good for your overall health but being hydrated also helps maintain a healthy saliva flow. 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.
8. Never Smoke
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. One of the best things you could do for your oral and overall health is to quit smoking immediately.
9. Dental Sealants For Protection
Dental sealants 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. Peek Inside your Mouth
While regular checkups with your dentist are an excellent preventive measure, issues can develop in the months between visits. To prevent major concerns, you should do a quick scan of the inside of your mouth as part of your daily routine.
Check your teeth and gums for anything that has changed or seems unusual. Make sure you share this information with your dentist at your next appointment or call your dentist's office if you discover anything concerning. Regular self-exams are beneficial to maintaining your health.