Dental hygiene, which is the practice of taking care of your mouth with regular at-home care and through professional cleanings, can help prevent damage to the teeth. Here are 5 ways that you can improve your dental hygiene to get and maintain a healthy smile.
What is Dental Hygiene?
Dental hygiene refers to the practice of keeping your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy to prevent disease. Getting your teeth cleaned every six months is an essential part of maintaining good oral health. However, that’s only part of it. Practicing good dental hygiene at home can help prevent bacteria and plaque from building up and damaging your smile. When you combine good at-home hygiene with professional cleanings, you can prevent most of the common oral health issues that can lead to decay, infection, and even tooth loss.
Practicing good oral health hygiene at home helps keep plaque at bay, which can prevent tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs by:
- Plaque, a hard sticky substance, builds up on the teeth.
- If not cleaned off properly, plaque turns into tartar.
- Tartar on your teeth harbors bacteria and allows it to grow.
- Bacteria causes inflammation and gum disease, which gets worse as time goes on.
Regular daily habits like brushing and flossing can prevent plaque from building up and causing these issues. When you come in for your regular checkups twice a year, we will remove any tartar that might have formed since you cannot remove tartar on your own.
5 Ways You Can Improve Your Dental Hygiene
If you want to take charge of your oral health, Young Family Dental is here to help. Here are 5 ways that you can improve your dental hygiene:
1. Brush twice a day
Brush your teeth two times a day, for two minutes each time. Many people usually do this in the morning when you wake up and right before you go to bed. To properly brush your teeth, you should:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and place it at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Gently moving the toothbrush back and forth is short strokes that cover the entire surface of your tooth.
- Brush the outer surfaces, inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of each tooth.
- Clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth by tilting the brushing vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
2. Floss once a day
Another important step to keep your teeth healthy is flossing at least once a day. Flossing cleans those small, tight spaces in between each tooth that toothbrushing alone can’t reach. The correct way to floss is by:
- Breaking off 18 to 24 inches of dental floss. To hold the floss correctly, wind most of the floss around both middle fingers. Leave about 1 to 2 inches of floss out for your teeth.
- Next, hold the floss taut with your thumbs and index fingers.
- Pace the dental floss between two teeth and gently glide the floss up and down. It should rub against both sides of each tooth. Don’t let the floss hit your gums and it can cause scratching or bruising.
- When the floss is about to reach your gums, curve the floss at the base of the tooth to form a ‘C’ shape. This will allow the floss to enter the space between the gums and your tooth.
- Repeat these same steps from tooth to tooth, using a new section of floss for each tooth.
3. Use fluoride
Fluoride can be found in many toothpastes, mouthwashes, and even in many communities in the tap water. Fluoride helps protect and strengthen your teeth, fight cavities, and keep your smile healthy.
4. Eat a well-balanced diet
What you eat not only affects your overall health, but your smile too. To best protect your teeth, try to limit your sugar intake along with foods and drinks that are high in acidity. Further, you should try to limit hard, sticky, or crunchy foods that could be damaging to your teeth. To learn more about the best foods for your smile, click here.
5. Don’t skip the dentist
Scheduling an appointment for a cleaning and dental exam every six months is important, even if you don’t have any dental health issues. These cleanings and exams are for preventative measures, and can help catch dental problems before they develop into something more serious. Neglecting dental hygiene can result in tooth decay, gum disease, infections, dry mouth, and more.
Make an Appointment with Young Family Dental
If you’re overdue for an appointment, visit one of our five convenient Young Family Dental locations. Located in Orem, American Fork, Saratoga Springs, Riverton, and West Jordan, we’re here to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Make an appointment today!