Have you ever wondered what your dentist really wants you to know about the health of your teeth, gums and mouth? Below are five tips that can help improve your oral hygiene, as well as make your next dental appointment something you can feel confident about.
Learning how to brush your teeth properly is the first step to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. It helps minimize the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, the major causes of tooth loss. Spend at least two minutes brushing, which should include 30 seconds brushing each section of your mouth (upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left), both morning and night. And don’t forget to brush your tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria that will help give you fresher breath.
Protect your enamel
Tooth enamel is the hard outer layer of your teeth. It helps protect your teeth from tooth decay, sensitivity, and is the part of your teeth that people see when you smile. One way enamel loss can occur is when acids from everyday food and beverages, such as fruit, yogurt, salsa and orange juice, attack the tooth surface. If left untreated, enamel loss can lead to larger issues such as cavities. A daily regimen of brushing and rinsing with products containing enamelstrengthening ingredients like fluoride is the best prevention against enamel loss.
Use a Full Oral Care Regimen
When it comes to cavity fighting, make sure you are brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day to remove leftover plaque and food that is trapped in the spaces between your teeth. Additionally, mouthwash is a powerful means of protecting teeth from decay and removing food particles lodged toward the back of the throat.
“I recommend my patients use a fluoridated mouth rinse, because fluoride is proven to strengthen enamel and fight cavities,” says Dr. Jamie Sands, DDS, whose cosmetic work has been featured on the program Ten Years Younger on TLC.
It’s not just the garlic …
Bad breath can be caused by a number of things, from the foods you eat to dry mouth, smoking, or even the medications you are taking. What many people don’t realize is that bad breath could also be a result of poor oral hygiene. To help fight bad breath, make sure you are practicing proper tooth brushing habits to remove odor-causing bacteria from the mouth, tongue and teeth. You can also try: chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow, which naturally cleanses teeth; eating a nutritious diet, as vitamin deficiency can contribute to bad breath; and using a rinse with fluoride to kill bad breath germs and prevent tooth decay.
Change Your Toothbrush
Tooth brushing removes plaque, which is the residue that can build up on teeth. Plaque can lead to cavities and gum disease. Be sure to replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head if you use an electric brush) every three months or so because worn or frayed bristles are not as effective at removing plaque as new bristles.