We know that healthy teeth and gums contribute to overall wellness at Legacy Dental. Our dentists have compiled a list of their top ten dental hygiene tips to help you keep your smile healthy.
10 Tips for Healthy Teeth & Gums
Brushing and flossing are part of a good dental routine. However, there are other things you can do to help maintain healthy teeth and gums that can benefit your overall wellbeing.
1. Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day for Two Minutes Each Time
Maintaining your teeth regularly is the first step toward keeping them clean and healthy. Brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time will help to keep plaque at bay. Patients with children should introduce this concept as early as possible and find ways to make it enjoyable.
Spend 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth to make cleaning every tooth easier. Angle the brush head towards the gums in small circular motions. Clean all surfaces, as well as the gum line, on both the front and back of your teeth. Some patients find that using an electric toothbrush is beneficial as well.
2. Floss Daily
It's best to floss every night before brushing to get rid of anything your toothbrush can't get rid of. Small particles of food and other deposits that are missed if you only brush and decide not to floss can eventually cause decay. To avoid this, floss twice a day for two minutes. When you first start flossing, it may hurt your sensitive gums. This is normal and will subside in a few days. Make sure to move the floss up and down the entire tooth. Tight spaces are the most important places to floss because your toothbrush cannot reach them.
3. Replace Your Toothbrush Once It Starts to Wear
In general, you should replace your toothbrush every 3 to 6 months. Damaged or frayed toothbrushes cannot clean the surface of your teeth properly and can cause gum damage. Replacing your toothbrush regularly also helps to keep it clean. Always rinse your toothbrush thoroughly before storing it to allow it to dry. If you've been sick, make sure to replace your toothbrush to avoid reintroducing bacteria into your mouth.
4. Visit Your Dentist Every Six Months
Your dentist will be able to prevent issues before they start, or at least to catch them early if you have regular dental appointments. Regular visits also allow your teeth to get a thorough professional cleaning twice a year, removing any buildup of plaque and tartar, which helps to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
5. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Avoiding sweetened foods (such as soda, sports drinks, and candy) and including calcium-rich foods will help to support strong and healthy teeth. As a bonus, your body will thank you. Leafy greens, almonds, yogurt, and cheese are some foods that will help to strengthen your teeth. Speak with your dentist about foods that will help keep your teeth strong for years to come.
6. Use Dental Hygiene Products
Brushing and flossing are essential for preventive dental health, but you can also help keep your teeth in good shape by incorporating supplemental aids into your routine. Mouthwash, oral irrigators, interdental cleaners, and tongue cleaners are examples of these products. These aids can help promote good oral health when used in conjunction with regular brushing and flossing.
7. Stay Hydrated
Not only is adequate hydration beneficial to your overall health, but it also aids in the maintenance of a healthy saliva flow. Saliva promotes dental health by transporting food particles through your mouth, preventing the majority of them from becoming lodged in your teeth, where bacteria can grow. It also aids in the comfort of your mouth.
8. Don't Smoke
Smoking causes both superficial problems, such as tooth staining and serious health problems, such as gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and oral cancer, among other things. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your oral and overall health.
9. Consider Dental Sealants
Dental sealants fill the depressions and grooves (fissures) in your molars and premolars, preventing cavities and plaque buildup. Sealants can benefit a wide range of people, but children and teenagers are ideal candidates because they frequently do not brush as well as adults, resulting in a higher rate of cavities.
10. Regularly Examine the Inside of Your Mouth
While regular dental checkups are an excellent preventive measure, problems can arise in the months between visits. To avoid major problems, perform a quick scan of the inside of your mouth as part of your daily routine.
Examine your teeth and gums for any changes or unusualities. Make sure to share this information with your dentist at your next appointment, or call your dentist's office if you notice anything suspicious. Self-examinations regularly are beneficial to your health.