5 Key Tips for Good Oral Hygiene Between Dentist Visits
Kissing is safer than shaking someone’s hand – Beth Hale, Daily Mail
One of the first thing people notice about another person is their smile. A smile is powerful and conveys more meaning than words. To have a bright happy smile that will bring joy to yourself and others, it is very important to maintain proper oral hygiene.
What Can Happen if You Don’t Have Proper Oral Hygiene?
The main consequences of neglecting your proper oral hygiene is tooth decay and gum disease.
Plaque is a thin, sticky film of bacteria which is constantly forming on your teeth. When you consume foods and beverages containing sugars and starches, the bacteria in the plaque produces acids.
The stickiness of the plaque traps these acids on your teeth and they continue to attack the tooth’s surface. The tooth enamel breaks down and this is what is known as tooth decay.
In addition, plaque can harden into calculus (or tartar). When calculus forms near the gum line, the plaque releases harmful poisons. The gums become inflamed and start to pull away from the teeth. Infection occurs in the gaps.
If gum disease is left untreated it can lead to bone loss around the teeth. In some cases it may even result in loose teeth and tooth loss. The good news is that gum disease is preventable and treatable with good oral hygiene between regular dental visits.
Here are 5 very easy ways to keep on top of your dental hygiene between your visits to the dentist.
1.Know the Correct Way to Brush Your Teeth
You need to brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Pay close attention to every section of your moth. Remember to brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of all your teeth. Don’t forget to brush your tongue too.
Use a toothpaste with fluoride, a mineral that can prevent, reverse, or even stop tooth decay. Brush with a soft-bristled or electric toothbrush. An electric toothbrush can be more effective than a manual toothbrush in reducing plaque.
Always rinse your toothbrush with water after brushing and store your toothbrush in an upright position to air dry. Make sure you store it well away from the toilet though. If you don’t, every time you flush the toilet your toothbrush will get covered in bacteria!
Replace your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three to four months or when the bristles start to look frayed.
2. Get in the Habit of Daily Flossing
A toothbrush can’t get between your teeth and under the gum line. That’s why daily flossing is important.
There are a few great interdental cleaner options now, not just dental floss or tape. There are tiny brushes, dental picks and pre-threaded flossers. You can even get electronic water flossers.
Whatever type of flosser you choose, be gentle. Move, don’t force, the floss down between your teeth with a rubbing motion. When the floss gets to the gum line, curve it against one tooth and use an up-and-down motion to rub the side of the tooth.
You can floss before or after brushing.
3. Rinse with Mouthwash
Choose a mouthwash that contains fluoride. Your dentist or hygienist may also recommend that you use an antibacterial mouthwash. These help control plaque and reduce gum disease.
However, if you find yourself relying on mouthwash to regularly freshen your breath see your dentist. Bad breath can not only be a sign of unhealthy teeth and gums but of poor general health.
4. Be Mindful of What you Eat and Drink
Sugars are by far the most important dietary factor in the development of tooth decay and cavities. Incredibly 60-90% of school-age children and a staggering 92% of adults in the U.S. have experienced tooth decay.
Try to reduce sugar intake by cutting back on soda, fruit juice and sugary food. Eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fibrous, cooked and uncooked, vegetables and fruits.
Chewing sugarless gum can stimulate saliva production, which in turn helps coat the teeth in healthy minerals.
Snack on cheese, yogurt and other dairy products which contain calcium and phosphates to strengthen the teeth.
5. Always Keep a Few Tooth and Mouth Wipes in Your Pocket or Purse
Between meals, when you are traveling or want to quickly freshen up your breath use an individually packaged tooth wipe for on-the-go proper oral hygiene.
Single-use tooth and mouth wipes are a quick and hygienic way to remove stains caused by coffee, wine and food. They can also be used to cleanse your lips and tongue. Make sure you use a new one to do your mouth after wiping your teeth to prevent cross contamination.