Good oral hygiene is a vital component to overall health. It is wise to keep up with good dental care habits. Things such as flossing and brushing should be done on a daily basis, while dental cleanings can be done months apart.
It is encouraged that oral hygiene habits are introduced to children as soon as teeth begin to show. The best way to encourage a child to keep up with healthy oral care is to lead by example. Take time to floss and brush together. Here are ten top-notch tips to get you on the right track towards good oral hygiene.
- Best Time to Brush: The best time to brush your teeth would be right before you go to bed and when early in the morning after you awake. Some dentist go as far as to recommend brushing after every meal. If consuming a meal with foods of high acidity, it would be best to wait a minimum of 30 minutes to avoid brushing acidity into your teeth which can cause tooth damage.
- How Long to Brush: It is recommended you brush for a minimum of three minutes. Most dentist will agree that teeth should be brushed for as long as it takes to get clean.
- Electric and Manual Brushing: It does not matter whether you choose to brush with an electric or a manual brush. What is vital is that the entire surface area of the tooth is thoroughly brushed and cleaned with a fluoride toothpaste. You want to make sure you are holding the brush at a slight angle and don’t forget to also brush your tongue. Many people do report that brushing with an electronic brush is easier for them. Speak to your dentist and discover what tooth works best for your specific circumstance.
- What Type of Toothpaste is Best?: The most commonly known active ingredient in most commercial toothpaste is fluoride. While fluoride has been proven to strengthen teeth to become more resilient to cavities, not everyone needs to use a fluoridated toothpaste. Some people are sensitive to fluoride while others naturally have a higher amount of fluoride produced by their teeth. Children can use regular toothpaste, but child toothpaste can be used to help get your kids excited about dental care..Your dentist should be able to help you decide which toothpaste is ideal for you.
- Flossing: Flossing is vital to good oral hygiene. It is recommended you floss before you brush your teeth. Flossing before brushing helps loosen food that may be stuck in tight spaces between your teeth (while your toothbrush will miss). When you floss, aim for approx. 18 inches of floss.Remember to be gentle and avoid snapping the floss into your gums. Floss should gentle rub between teeth and curve against each tooth once near the gumline.
- Take Advantage of Interdental Brushes: Interdental brushes are ideal for rid pieces of food and plaque from the spaces between teeth. Your dentist can advise you on what brush sizes are appropriate. Be careful when first using interdental brushes. Avoid forcing interdental brushes into any space. Gums may bleed and become tender when used for the very first time as you begin to rid yourself of plaque build-up. If bleeding persist after a few days of use, visit your dentist. Your dentist will be able to tell you if you are using the interdental brushes incorrectly.
- Mouthwash: Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash immediately after brushing your teeth will wash away any concentrated fluoride left on your teeth from your toothpaste. It is recommended you avoid eating or drinking for approximately 30 minutes after using mouthwash. To be safe, the ideal mouthwash should have an ADA symbol somewhere on the bottle.
- Avoid Acids: Proper diet plays a huge role in proper oral hygiene. Many of the foods we enjoy have high acidity levels. Some foods to limit would be fruits (lemons, strawberries, blueberries), nuts (cashew, peanut, walnuts), pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
- Avoid Stain-Causing Dyes: Drinks such as coffee, tea, wine and sport drinks should be limited to keep teeth from yellowing. If you want to limit the amount of contact these drinks have on your teeth, use a straw. It will help to also limit the intake of stain-causing dyes found in hard candy, berries and tomato sauce which cause tooth discoloration.
- Routine Dental Cleanings: Routine dental cleanings are great to keep your gums and teeth as healthy as possible. With routine deep cleanings, you can avoid cavities, tooth decay and even tooth loss. Routine dental cleanings also brighten your smile and freshen your breath. Regular routine visits to your dentist are also potentially life saving. Your dentist can detect early signs of heart disease, diabetes, and come cancers from your routine oral exams.
With the use of these tips, excellent routine oral hygiene habits your teeth should remain healthy pearly whites. Dentist appreciate it when their patients that ask questions and vocalize their concerns. Feel secure enough to keep open communication your dentist about your oral care.