5 Good Oral Health Habits
Get into the habit of taking good care of your mouth, and you have the best chance of maintaining healthy teeth and gums for the rest of your life. These habits are not difficult, but they are important. So get on board, get your whole family on board, and learn the fundamentals of oral hygiene.
If you live in the Clearwater, FL area, call Clearwater Dental Associates at (727) 373-6628 to schedule your next checkup.
1)How to Brush Properly
You’ve been brushing your teeth your entire life, but how well have you been paying attention to how you brush? Brushing incorrectly will not adequately clean your teeth, and can even cause damage.
- Brush twice a day at minimum. It’s even better to brush morning, night, and after each meal.
- Brush for two minutes at a time. The toothbrush should be held at a 45° angle to the gums and should be moved in short circular strokes. Be sure to reach all surfaces of the teeth, including the backs, and don’t miss the area where the teeth and gums meet.
- Use an ADA-accepted toothpaste with fluoride.
- Replace your toothbrush every few months or when the bristles become frayed (whichever comes first).
- Be gentle. Brushing too hard can wear down your tooth enamel and damage your gums. Always use a soft-bristled (not medium or hard) toothbrush.
- Get your kids into the brushing habit from a young age. You can even start before that first tooth emerges. Wiping down baby’s gums with clean, damp cloth removes bacteria and begins acclimating her to oral care.
2)Make Flossing a Habit
You probably know that flossing removes bits of food stuck between your teeth. But proper flossing also gets rid of harmful bacteria and plaque stuck to the surfaces of the teeth. Flossing is an important weapon in preventing cavities and decay between the teeth, where your toothbrush just can’t reach.
- Floss at least once a day, but preferably after every meal.
- Break off about 18 inches of floss, winding it around your middle fingers and working with an inch or two at a time.
- Hold the floss tightly, and slide it up and down between your teeth, making sure to run it up against inside surfaces of each tooth.
- Very gently use the floss to clean the base of each tooth, under the gumline.
- Use a fresh section of floss every time you move to a new tooth.
Floss picks are not as effective as traditional string floss. But they a good second choice for people who don’t have the hand dexterity for regular floss — or for flossing the teeth of fidgety young children.
3)Come to See Us Regularly
Even if you do all the right things for your mouth at home, it’s still important to visit Clearwater Dental Associates twice a year for a dental checkup and cleaning.
Many dental issues start small and without symptoms noticeable to you. One of our doctors will conduct a thorough examination of your teeth, gums, and mouth, and will be able to find problems in their earliest stages. Plus, X-rays and other diagnostic technology enables us to catch issues even before our doctors can see them. And with dentistry, earlier detection almost always means easier treatment.
You will receive a professional cleaning, which removes built-up plaque and tartar that’s virtually impossible to get rid of at home. One of our hygienists will then polish and floss your teeth, making them squeaky clean.
4)Drink Lots of Water
One of the best and easiest things you can do for your dental health is to drink lots of water. Not soda or juice, but plain old water. Especially if you are unable to brush and floss after every meal, drinking water throughout the day has the effect of rinsing bits of food from between your teeth.
Chewing sugarless gum, by promoting saliva production, has a similar effect. Just make sure it is sugarless — the sugar in non-sugarless gum will negate any benefits.
5)Eat Tooth-Friendly Foods
You probably have an idea of what foods to avoid, but what foods have a beneficial effect on your oral health?
- Dairy products are packed with calcium and protein, which help strengthen your teeth. Cheese in particular is thought to lower the risk of tooth decay by affecting the pH balance in the mouth. A caveat: avoid sugary dairy products, like sweetened yogurts and milks.
- Leafy greens are another excellent source of calcium. They are also rich in folic acid, which seems to have a positive effect on gum disease.
- Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots have lots of fiber, which is good for the gums. They also help keep the mouth clean by stimulating saliva flow.
- Nuts make a great low-sugar snack, filling you up and providing lots of nutrients. They have omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for teeth and gums.
Make these habits a habit, and you have the best chance for a healthy mouth. And at Clearwater Dental Associates, we believe there is a strong connection between the health of your mouth and your overall well-being. To schedule your next checkup at our Clearwater, FL office, contact us online or call (727) 373-6628.