Regular oral hygiene is key to keeping your teeth and gums healthy. From brushing twice daily to getting dental checkups every six months to getting fitted for invisible aligners, you have to actively take steps every day to improve your smile.
But remember, oral health is about more than preventing gum disease and cavities. Studies have actually shown a correlation between oral health and overall physical health. Taking these steps to achieve good oral health will benefit all of you!
Check out these seven best practices to keep your teeth healthy.
1. Brush regularly, not aggressively
You’re probably well aware that you have to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once. But what you may not realize is that you’re doing it wrong: most likely, you’re brushing and flossing too aggressively. Brushing can remove plaque and bacteria, but it’s only effective if you’re using the correct technique.
Brush in small circular motions, getting the front, back, and top of each and every tooth. The whole process should take about two to three minutes, so if you’re done brushing in 15 seconds, nope, it’s just not enough. Be gentle, don’t saw back-and-forth vigorously.
It’s also good to pick up a soft-bristled toothbrush rather than a hard one. Those hard bristles, combined with aggressive brushing techniques, can damage tooth enamel and gums.
2. Use fluoride
Fluoride helps to prevent cavities, and is found in many toothpastes and mouthwashes. But not all products contain fluoride, which means many people don’t get any of this important element. Studies show a lack of fluoride can result in tooth decay, and all the brushing and flossing in the world can’t completely save you from it if you’re not incorporating fluoride into your daily routine.
3. Floss once per day
Flossing gets all that gunk off your teeth – also known as plaque and bacteria. It gets into spaces where a toothbrush just can’t, removing debris that has become trapped and improving your breath. Both the ADA and the CDC recommend everyone floss once a day. Push the floss all the way to the gumline, then hug the sides of your teeth with gentle up and down motions.
4. See a dentist twice a year
Don’t neglect making and keeping those dental visits that come up every six months. It’s during this routine dental exam that the hygienist can thoroughly clean your teeth, removing plaque and hardened tartar. Then, the dentist will inspect for cavities, gum disease, and signs of oral cancer. These visits are important not just to get your teeth cleaned twice a year, but to detect oral health concerns that should be nipped in the bud sooner rather than later.
5. Nix the smoking
Smoking does a number on your body’s immune system, making it hard for your body to heal tissues, including mouth and gum tissues. The CDC says smoking is a big risk factor for gum disease. The ADA says those who smoke will be slower to heal after any kind of dental procedure.
Smoking also yellows the teeth and tongue, giving you bad breath to boot. The best for whitening teeth? A teeth whitening protocol through Clear Smiles!
6. Use mouthwash
Certain mouthwashes can actually benefit your oral health. Choose mouthwashes that contain chlorhexidine, which is an antibacterial ingredient that helps to control plaque and gingivitis.
7. Get Invisalign
If you have crooked teeth, get them fixed with teeth aligners like Invisalign. Not only do clear aligners correct teeth that are crooked, gapped or too crowded, they also fix abnormal bite functions, such as when the upper and lower jaws can’t come together in the right way. If you don’t fix your bite problems now, you may experience other oral health issues including cavities, erosion of tooth enamel, tooth loss, gum infections, and difficulties in speaking or eating.
Straighter teeth equal a healthier mouth and a more attractive appearance. Plus, straight healthy teeth are more likely to last a lifetime! Correcting orthodontic problems with cosmetic dentistry and aligners can put a stop to issues like halitosis (bad breath), gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), tooth sensitivity and teeth chipping. Not only does Invisalign resolve immediate problems, it can prevent more serious issues from occurring, such as tooth loss. But it doesn’t have to be that grim.