When you think about maintaining good oral health, perhaps you think about visits to the dentist. While those are very important, they are actually only a small part of your oral health. Maintaining those pearly whites and avoiding cavities or other dental health concerns is also the result of the daily habits you practice. Here are four simple habits besides going to the dentist that can dramatically improve your oral health.
Brush the Right Way
We all know that brushing your teeth each day is important to avoid cavities and prevent gum disease, but do you know if you are brushing correctly? The fact is that most adults and children are not, and that can have consequences.
Here’s the proper way to brush:
- Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste (for children under 6, use toothpaste without fluoride to prevent them from swallowing it)
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid causing damage to your gums or enamel
- Brush in small, circular motions
- Apply only a medium amount of pressure—too hard can lead to gum and tooth damage, while too soft will not remove all the plaque and food particles
- Brush for two full minutes—to make sure you get everywhere, divide your mouth into four “quadrants” and spend 30 seconds on each
- Brush at least two times per day, usually in the morning when you wake up and before you go to bed
Floss Every Day
Yes, you read that right—you should be flossing every day. There is no wrong type of floss to use, but it’s important that you use it properly by flossing in between every tooth and getting both the right and left side each time you go between teeth. Many people floss only a single side, so they’re putting in the effort to floss but missing out on 50% of the benefits. You can also follow up your brushing with a mouthwash to help clean any small areas where your floss and brush didn’t reach or where you may have missed.
Fluoride is one of the best ways to prevent cavities, so you should be using fluoridated dental products. That includes your toothpaste, and mouthwash if applicable. Some cities have fluoride in the water supply, but if you don’t then you should also consider a fluoride supplement for your children. Protecting their teeth with fluoride at a young age gives them strong, healthy teeth as they grow up. Talk to your dentist about whether a supplement is necessary for you.
Swap Your Acidic Drinks for Water
Engaging in daily oral health habits like brushing and flossing is great, but you can further protect your teeth by avoiding the things that can cause damage in the first place. Many popular drinks can damage teeth or cause stains, including coffee, tea, wine, and soda. Swapping these drinks for water, especially during meals, can prevent damage and slow decay or discoloration.
In addition to these healthy habits, you should also see a dentist regularly. Contact us today to schedule your cleaning or consultation.