Dental Hygiene 101: How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy in Between Visits
The American Dental Association (ADA) advises everyone (provided they are old enough to tie their own shoelaces, that is!) to visit their family dentists for dental cleaning and checkup at least twice a year. This equates to an oral prophylaxis once every six months to remove plaque, bacteria, and other stains from your teeth.
Aside from cleaning your teeth, regular dental prophylaxis also has the added benefit of keeping gingivitis and cavities at bay.
However, we’re talking about what you should do to keep your teeth healthy twice a year – but what are you to do in between? Here’s how you can up your dental hygiene to keep your chompers clean during the rest of the year.
• Brush your teeth twice per day
It’s important that you brush your teeth twice per day, particularly once when you wake up and before you go to bed at night. Regular brushing would remove bacteria that can cause plaque buildup and gum inflammation. It also removes icky food debris from your mouth, so you don’t have to talk to your friend with bits of your lunch stuck in your teeth! If you can manage to brush your teeth after every meal, all the better.
• Use proper brushing methods
Simply running a toothbrush over your mouth is not enough to keep cavities away. Brush your teeth for a minimum of two minutes each time. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and gently brush each tooth at least 10 to 15 times, keeping the bristles angled against your gumline. Make sure you brush on the inner and outer surface of your teeth, cleaning off the bacteria and plaque as much as you can. Then, brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth, to keep your mouth smelling and feeling fresh as well as keeping bacteria away.
• Floss it
Unfortunately, no matter how thoroughly you brush, your toothbrush cannot reach in all the nooks and crannies of your mouth. These small gaps between your teeth and gums are common areas for bacteria to hide, and are primarily where tooth decay and bacteria buildup are rampant.
• Change your toothbrush regularly
This is debatable, but most experts recommend that you change your toothbrush every two to three months, or whenever the bristles become frayed and worn. Using an old toothbrush can cause more harm than good, as it can damage your gums and even push the plaque and bacteria buildup deeper into your gumline.
• Eat healthy
Tea, coffee, and wine are just some of the beverages that can stain your teeth. Also, eating too much sugar (that includes soda!) can break down your tooth enamel and make you more susceptible to tooth damage and tooth decay. A common rule of thumb, therefore, is to keep the intake of these food and beverages at a minimum.
These are just some of the things you can do to keep your smile pretty even when you’re not due for a dental checkup. However, keep in mind that you should also make it a point to keep up your dental appointments. Routinely going to the dentist will keep your smile brighter and more natural, for the years to come.