If you’ve been brushing your teeth twice a day for as long as you can remember, you may think you’ve done all that’s required to keep those chompers healthy. Good oral hygiene is a lifelong commitment. We’re sorry to burst your bubble, but it requires more attention than two daily brushings.
Besides cavities, toothache, and gum disease, poor oral hygiene can also lead to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Here are the top dental hygiene tips to keep your teeth and gums in pristine condition.
BRUSH AT LEAST TWICE DAILY
Brushing your teeth twice daily is a minimum requirement. Ideally, you want to be brushing three times a day or after every meal. Brushing is necessary to remove the remaining bits of food from your teeth, gums, and tongue after eating. This prevents bad breath and cavities.
There's tons of variety when it comes to toothbrushes. Make sure kids use a type specifically formulated for their little mouths. For adults, a soft bristle toothbrush is a good option. Those with vibrating bristles additionally help break up plaque near the gumline and get into all the top surface grooves.
CHOOSE YOUR TOOTHPASTE CAREFULLY
Using a fluoride-containing toothpaste is the top choice to prevent cavities. A traditional American diet is highly acidic. This strips the tooth enamel of protective and strengthening minerals. Fluoride toothpaste can help prevent enamel erosion, which keeps the outer layer strong.
Some toothpaste formulas are designed specifically to assist in reducing sensitivity while others can help with whitening and removing stains.
If you’re not used to flossing, it can feel like a chore at first. It is, however, one of the most essential practices to keep your teeth cavity-free and your gums healthy. Ideally, you want to floss after every meal, but this may not always be possible. At the very least, try to floss once daily. Doing it as part of your evening routine is a good time to remove any bits of food and plaque that have built up during the day. Not removing these tiny particles can cause infections and lead to cavities as they start to react with bacteria and decay between the teeth.
Floss your teeth before brushing. This way the nutrients in your toothpaste can reach the enamel between the teeth.
CHEW SUGAR-FREE GUM
You probably didn’t see this one coming. Chewing sugar-free gum after eating can help clean out food particles and neutralize biofilm acids on your teeth. The chewing action stimulates the salivary glands to increase the quantity of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps to fight germs, prevents bad breath, and contains minerals and proteins that protect tooth enamel. This is beneficial to prevent decay and gum disease.
Chewing sugar-free gum for around 10 minutes after eating can be a beneficial habit after all. Keep in mind that it doesn’t prevent plaque build-up and is not a substitute for other oral healthcare practices.
GET A PROFESSIONAL CLEANING DONE
Even if you limit sugar, rinse with mouthwash, and regularly floss, your toothbrush still can’t get into all the nooks and crannies where bacteria love to hide. Getting your teeth cleaned professionally at least twice a year helps get rid of plaque and tartar buildup. It also cleans the base of the gums which helps prevent infections.
Spending just a few minutes daily taking care of your teeth can save you a lot of pain and money in the long run. Plus, you’ll be sporting a brighter, whiter smile.