Helpful Tips for Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums

Helpful Tips for Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums

Oral care is essential to your health.  Plaque, which is a soft sticky film containing bacteria, can build up on the teeth and cause significant issues, particularly when it hardens into tartar. This can lead to issues like cavities, gingivitis, tooth decay and gum disease.  

Since poor oral health may cause a host of related issues, daily care of teeth is important for overall health.  The following teeth care tips are recommendations for daily and ongoing dental hygiene:

Daily Oral Care Practices

Brush

It is recommended that teeth are brushed twice a day with a proper toothbrush and adequate toothpaste.  Soft bristles are necessary to avoid breaking down the hard enamel of the teeth, as is a head that is small enough to move around your mouth.  Fluoride toothpaste is important, because fluoride itself can help remove plaque from tooth surfaces and protect your teeth from decay. Changing your brush regularly when the bristles start to get too soft or worn is important. On average, a toothbrush should be changed every three months.

Floss

Flossing gets what a toothbrush can’t – those tiny spaces between the teeth. Plaque that isn’t removed in these areas leads to tooth decay and gum disease. It is recommended that flossing be completed at least once a day, but twice a day is better, because it is an essential oral hygiene practice that should accompany brushing. If you cannot commit to daily flossing, try it a few times a week to build the habit! You’ll save on dental expenses and issues down the road by incorporating such a simple task into your daily regime!

Rinse

While mouthwash alone will not remove enough of the sticky plaque to keep your mouth healthy, it can destroy any bacteria that is left in the mouth after brushing and flossing. It gets at areas in your mouth that you may not think to brush – such as your tongue, the roof of your mouth, and your gums.

Oral Care

 

Drink enough water

Mouth dryness can cause a number of problems, because it increases plaque accumulation. Keeping your mouth moist is really important, as it promotes the production of saliva. Saliva buffers acids that may break down enamel in the teeth, and thus protects teeth from decay. Many health professionals recommend 8 glasses of water consumed a day to avoid any issues that come with dehydration and for optimal health, both oral health and other areas of health.

Limit sugar and soda

Sugar is what the bacteria in plaque “eat”. This process then releases acids into the mouth which break down teeth and cause cavities. Eating a balanced diet and limiting sugary snacks in between means you can mediate this process. The less sugar you consume, the better for your teeth (and the rest of your health to boot!). If you must have sugary treats, ensure it is followed by a glass of water and ideally brushing and flossing. Also, restricting sugary foods to mealtimes can give the saliva a chance to neutralize and buffer the acids produced.

Ongoing Dental Care

Visit your Orthodontist/dentist regularly

You should visit your dentist or orthodontist at least twice a year to have a full hygiene treatment performed. At these appointments, a comprehensive exam is taken, often with x-rays to help detect issues like cavities, tooth decay, gum recession, and gingivitis.  Cleaning, polishing, and fluoride treatments should be performed at these appointments for that clean, healthy smile!

dental checkup

Inform your dentist if you notice mouth changes

Be sure to let your dentist know when you notice anything unusual in your mouth, like bleeding, sensitivity, pain, discoloration, a sore or a lump, or any other signs or symptoms that are not normal. Your dentist will then examine the area for signs of disease, and let you know if you need further treatment. That’s one more reason why regular dental checkups are so important for your oral health. Many times, changes in the environment of your mouth are harmless, but some could be early warnings of  treatable disease.

Don’t start bad oral health habits

If you haven’t started poor oral habits – don’t start now. Habits such as smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol of coffee, chewing on nonfood items like pencil tips or fingernails can all impact your oral health. Clenching or grinding teeth can be a nighttime habit that impacts the jaw joint and muscles in the mouth.  Other issues, like oral piercings or playing sports without adequate mouth protection can increase the chance of chipping or other injuries.