Once the weather starts to warm up (it is starting to warm up, right?!) many…
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this is especially true when it comes to your teeth.
Your teeth play a vital role in your day-to-day, breaking down the food you eat and contributing to your appearance. Good oral hygiene is an intrinsic part of overall health. By not taking proper care of your teeth, you open yourself up to greater risk of bacterial issues, tooth decay, sensitivity, and loss of jaw bone structure – not to mention sky-high dental bills!
Most of us know to brush our teeth twice a day, but there’s a lot more we can do. Here are eight great tips to keep your teeth healthy, white, and pain-free for a lifetime:
- Brush your teeth
This might be a no-brainer but you would be shocked at how many people neglect to regularly brush their teeth. If you do nothing else, brush your teeth at least twice a day, morning and night. This clears away food particles stuck in the crevices of your teeth that could otherwise fester and cause damage. Brushing also removes plaque and neutralizes bacteria that may cause bad breath.
Choose a toothbrush with soft nylon bristles, it will clean effectively while remaining gentle on your gums, reducing the risk of gum recession and sensitivity. Toothbrushes made from natural fibers harbor bacteria and need to be replaced more often, making them the less preferable choice. You can also opt for an electric toothbrush. These are great if you need to incentivize yourself to spend more time brushing, which you’ll be likely to do to justify the higher price of the toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes don’t have any edge in efficacy though. A manual toothbrush can get the job done just as well if you use the right technique.
Bring your toothbrush to a 45-degree angle to your gums and brush in small, gentle circular motions. Spend about 45 seconds per “quadrant” of your mouth. Don’t forget to brush the inner surfaces of your teeth.
You can brush all you want, but if you neglect to floss, your mouth will still harbor bacteria in hard-to-reach places. The spaces between your teeth as well as where your tooth attaches to your gums can’t be effectively cleaned just by brushing. This is where flossing comes in.
Gently push the floss between two teeth and use a sawing motion to clean out debris. Then make a C-like shape with the floss and take it up and down the tooth. Pull on the string a bit to get a clean section and repeat on the next tooth.
If regular flossing is too cumbersome (some people don’t like the feeling of their hands into their mouth) then you can purchase floss sticks from most drug stores. These sticks have handles you can use to maneuver the floss while keeping your hands at a comfortable distance from your mouth. They’re not quite as effective when it comes to effectuating the C shape movement due to their lack of flexibility, but using flossing sticks is still far better than not flossing at all.
Mouthwash performs a final sweep of any remaining bacteria in your mouth following brushing and flossing. Our mouths are havens for bacteria and have many natural defenses, but bacteria can still build-up over time and cause issues with our teeth and gums, even after brushing and flossing. For this reason, it doesn’t hurt to add this one last step to your hygiene routine as a preventative measure. Mouthwash also leaves your breath feeling and smelling fresh, a benefit in and of itself.
- Avoid certain foods
You might think that if you’re eating healthy and avoiding sugar, you’re doing your part to maintain your oral health. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Certain healthy foods can also cause damage to the enamel on your teeth. There are foods out there that just aren’t the best for our teeth. Highly acidic foods and drinks lemon juice and vinegar alter the pH balance of your mouth and create a non-ideal environment for your teeth, damaging your tooth enamel and making them more vulnerable to stains. A good rule of thumb is if a food would stain a white shirt, it will stain your teeth. Unfortunately, that includes most peoples’ guilty pleasures such as chocolate, coffee, red wine, etc. Of course, you can’t be expected to avoid every food that negatively affects your teeth for the rest of your life, but be mindful of the amount and regularity with which you consume them. It’s also a good idea to give your teeth a gentle brush after consuming these foods, or even just a quick rinse with water if you don’t have a toothbrush on hand.
- Go for regular checkups
It’s important to maintain a solid oral hygiene regimen, but if you’re not going to the dentist regularly, you could be unaware of developing issues. A dentist can let you know if you have plaque, cavities, gingivitis, or more serious issues and take preventative measures to avoid them becoming bigger problems later on.
A dentist can also give you feedback on how to improve your hygiene routine and give insight as to what areas you need to improve. Since we can’t see into our own mouths the same way a dentist can, it’s essential to get a checkup at least once a year.
Proper oral health is a lifestyle, not an item you can check off your list and forget about. Your teeth do so much for you and often times, you’ll only know that something is wrong with them when it’s too late to take preventative measures. By following the above dental health tips, you should have chipper chompers for life and avoid unpleasant surprises at the dentist’s office!
Dawson Dental began with one location in Guelph and has grown to include twenty locations across Ontario. For a personalized smile at any age, call us at 1-877-542-2043 or visit our contact page here.