6 Great Oral Hygiene Tips For A Healthy And Beautiful Smile
Dentists recommend that most adult patients have their teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist two times a year. The intensive cleaning done in the office can remove tartar at and below the gum line that a toothbrush can’t dislodge. The cleaning also gives the hygienist and dentist the opportunity to examine the patient’s mouth for signs of gum disease or other problems. Between visits, there are some important things you can do at home to maintain excellent oral hygiene. The following are some expert tips from the Gordon Center for General and Advanced Dentistry for keeping your smile both healthy and beautiful.
1. Brush at least twice a day.
After you eat, bacteria that live in your mouth produce acid when they break down the food particles that remain between your teeth. Brushing prevents the buildup of acid in your mouth that causes tooth decay, and it also removes the bacterial plaque that hardens into tartar and causes gum disease. If you can’t brush after you eat, dentists recommend at least rinsing your mouth with water.
When you brush your teeth, technique is important. First of all, make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush that isn’t more than a few months old. It’s important to replace your toothbrush when the bristles start to wear down. As far as toothpaste goes, use any fluoride paste that is approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). To clean your teeth, turn the brush at a 45 degree angle and hold it so that the bristles are in contact with the tooth and the gum. Brush back and forth and up and down, covering all surfaces of the teeth, for a minimum of two minutes. We have found many patients benefit from an electric tooth brush as well to increase plaque removal.
2. Floss at least once a day.
Floss helps you clean between your teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Any type of floss is okay to use; some people find waxed or bonded floss easier to use, while others prefer unwaxed because it’s thinner and better for getting between crowded teeth. Use about eighteen inches of floss wound around a finger on each hand and place the taut string between your teeth. Pull the floss around the tooth in a curve as you slide it below the gum line and gently draw it out to remove food particles and plaque. Flossing is most beneficial when done with brushing at night. This will reduce the amount of bacteria, acid and food particles between your teeth overnight.
3. Don’t forget to brush your tongue.
If you looked at your tongue under a microscope, you might be surprised to see what a rough, uneven surface it has. The structure of the tongue makes it a welcoming home to bacteria that accumulate in crevices between taste buds. As bacteria grows, it forms a bio-film that is not easy to remove by simply rinsing with water or mouthwash, and this bacteria can cause bad breath. That’s why brushing your tongue whenever you brush your teeth is an important component of dental hygiene. Brush back and forth and up and down all over the tongue and then rinse.
4. Use mouthwash daily.
Using mouthwash is a good complement to brushing and flossing, but it doesn’t replace them. A mouthwash that contains xylitol helps to kill the bacteria in your mouth that causes tooth decay and bad breath. Your dentist may recommend a therapeutic mouthwash with specific ingredients that treat problems like gum inflammation or canker sores. You might also need a mouthwash with extra fluoride to protect cavity-prone teeth. To use mouthwash, take in a mouthful and rinse for about a minute before spitting it out. Alternatively, you can gargle and rinse for about the same amount of time.
5. Avoid substances that harm your teeth.
Some of the worst culprits responsible for discoloring and damaging teeth are tobacco, coffee (especially with cream and sugar), sodas, and alcohol. Tobacco, especially in smokeless form, is known to cause oral cancer and gum disease. Tobacco products flavored with sugar or sugared mints used to cover up the smell of smoke can also damage the teeth. Coffee, sodas, and some alcohols contain tannins that cause stains that hard to remove. Sodas contain acids which your teeth’s enamel cannot withstand over time, and sugar, which is known to cause tooth decay.
6. Eat a healthy diet that is rich in calcium and other vitamins.
Calcium promotes healthy growth of bones and teeth. Foods that are high in calcium include milk and dairy products, broccoli, and fortified orange juice. Vitamin D is also important for dental health. Many dairy products are fortified with vitamin D, while foods that contain it naturally include fatty fish, like tuna and salmon, and egg yolks. Other nutrients that are great for dental health include vitamin B complex, copper, zinc, iodine, and potassium. One of the best foods for your teeth is an apple. Even though it contains sugar, the action of biting into an apple produces saliva that cleans the teeth of bacteria, while the texture stimulates the gums.
If you follow these Oral Hygiene tips, your smile will be brighter and your mouth will be healthier. Also, you’ll find that your regular dental cleanings will get easier when there is less tartar to remove from your teeth. Make sure to talk with your dentist if you’re having any problems, like persistent soreness, bleeding gums, or bad breath. Often there is an underlying cause that needs to be investigated. For expert and compassionate dental care, visit Gordondentalcare.com or call our office at (301) 258-1998.