Most experts agree that tooth decay and gum disease can largely be prevented with good oral hygiene. However, great dental hygiene doesn’t stop at simply brushing and flossing. To maintain healthy teeth and gums, it’s important to follow these ten oral hygiene tips.
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes. The American Dental Association recommends brushing for at least two minutes, twice daily, to properly remove food particles that attract bacteria.
- Learn proper brushing technique. Brushing too vigorously can increase your likelihood of gum recession and damaged tooth enamel. To brush properly, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle in relation to your gums and move your hand in a circular motion.
- Floss at least once per day. Even if you brush twice a day, food particles can still get trapped in the spaces between your teeth. Flossing once a day helps to prevent tartar buildup that contributes to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Visit your dentist at least every 6 months. Routine dental exams are critical for your dental health. Visiting your dentist twice a year for a routine cleaning and oral exam will help you detect and prevent oral health issues.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 months. Over time, toothbrush bristles can lose their shape and deteriorate. To properly clean your teeth and gums, swap out your toothbrush every three or four months. If you schedule regular dental exams, your dentist will also provide you with a new toothbrush if necessary.
- Consider switching to an electric toothbrush. There are many types of toothbrushes out there, but certain types are better than others. When deciding on a toothbrush, you may want to consider an electric toothbrush. The electric toothbrush’s bristle movement decreases more plaque and gingivitis than manual toothbrushes. If you’d rather use a manual toothbrush, make sure to locate a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head.
- Consider using a fluoride mouthwash. Use a mouthwash that contains fluoride to prevent tooth decay and kill bad bacteria in your mouth. Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes after using a fluoride mouthwash.
- Keep hydrated. Saliva helps protect your teeth against decay. Drinking water is good for your teeth because it helps wash away leftover food and residue that can cause cavities.
- Limit sugary and acidic foods. Cavity-causing bacteria feed on sugar and produce acid that wears away your enamel. Food acids also soften your tooth material and dissolve the minerals in tooth enamel. By limiting your intake of sugary and acidic foods, you are helping to protect your enamel from erosion.
- Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables. Crunchy foods, such as apples, carrots, and celery, neutralize sugar content and wipe away plaque-causing bacteria on the surface of your teeth. These vegetables also stimulate saliva flow, which acts as a natural defense against cavities and gum disease.
Your oral health is essential to your overall physical health. It’s important to set aside a few minutes every day for your dental hygiene routine. If you have any questions about your oral health, schedule an appointment with your dentist. He or she will be able to identify any oral health issues that require attention and provide treatment options as well as at-home care advice.