You probably don’t need to be told how important it is to take care of your teeth; according to the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, 95% of Americans agree that oral health is vital for good health overall. Despite this, it can be deceptively easy to fall into the wrong habits, but luckily there are often plenty of simple improvements you can make. Here are 5 behaviors that will make your dentist smile.
1. Brush Well
Sometimes brushing your teeth poorly can be as bad as not brushing them at all. It’s important to make sure you’re doing a thorough job of removing plaque before it has a chance to harden into tartar. Use a fluoride toothpaste that helps defend against tooth decay, and make sure to brush every area, including near the gumline; use gentle, circular motions so as to clean the enamel without damaging it. You should be brushing your teeth for at least two minutes at a time.
2. Don’t Forget to Floss
More than a third of Americans don’t floss daily, but it’s an important step in any oral hygiene routine. Not only does it get rid of bits of food stuck between the teeth, but it also stimulates the gums, reduces plaque in hard-to-reach areas, and lowers inflammation. If you have trouble using regular string floss, you can look for other tools such as interdental brushes and floss picks.
3. Use Mouthwash
Mouthwash is another way to clean areas that are hard to reach with a toothbrush, but that’s not the only benefit; it can also reduce acid levels in the mouth and re-mineralize your teeth. Some brands are more suitable for children or people with sensitive teeth, so ask your dentist for recommendations.
4. Eat Right
The bacteria in your mouth convert sugar into acid that can erode tooth enamel, which is what leads to cavities. For this reason, candies and other sugary foods should only be eaten sparingly; you should also be wary of acidic beverages soda. A healthier alternative is crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples or carrots; they help increase saliva production, which helps keep the teeth clean.
5. Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking enough water is important in and of itself, of course, but it can also have additional benefits. Drinking or rinsing with water after every meal can help wash out sticky or acidic substances, so it can be a handy way to clean your teeth between brushes.
6. Don’t Forget to See the Dentist
Always have a good answer to the question, “Is there a good dentist near me?” Those twice-a-year dental visits will help detect cavities and other oral health problems in their earliest stages, as well as get rid of plaque and tartar buildup in areas you missed with your regular hygiene routine.
Taking care of your teeth is a full-time job that requires daily attention. If you think there are aspects of your own oral hygiene that could be improved, speak with your dentist; they’ll be able to give you advice based on your specific situation.
About the Author
Dr. Raj Vekariya has almost a decade of dental experience and has earned a certificate in esthetic and comprehensive dentistry. At his Canonsburg practice, Center One Dental, he treats patients with the latest dental tools and techniques in a comfortable environment. To schedule a preventive checkup, visit his website or call (724) 300-3700.