It’s always a good idea to get a refresher on what you should do to take care of your oral health. Maybe you need a reminder to reinstate some good habits, or maybe you were never properly taught how to look after your oral health. Whatever the case, you can’t take proper care of your oral health if you are not properly important, so here are some tips that will help you keep your teeth and mouth healthy.
1 – Brush your teeth properly
Balance is important here because just as brushing too little can be a problem, brushing too much can also cause issues. On top of that, it’s important to use the right toothpaste and technique when brushing your teeth to ensure optimal results.
As a general rule, you should brush at least twice a day for about two minutes each time. Make sure you get all the surfaces of all your teeth, including the ones in the back — especially the ones in the back, in fact. Issues in your wisdom teeth can be notoriously hard to treat, so if you don’t look after them you may end up needing your wisdom teeth removed. A costly and painful procedure that can often be prevented through proper oral hygiene.
Avoid brushing much more often than 3 times a day. And when brushing, refrain from brushing too hard. Brushing too often or too vigorously can wear down your teeth’ enamel, which is an important protective layer. Smooth circular motions are all you need to clean your teeth; trust the tiny bristles of the toothbrush to do their job.
2 – Turn flossing into a habit
Ever wondered why dentists are so adamant about you flossing your teeth? There are two main reasons for that. The first is simply geometry — toothbrushes are very good at their job, but they can’t quite reach in between your teeth. Meaning that without flossing you will get leftover food stuck between your teeth, and those leftovers will eventually rot there. It’s not pretty.
The second reason relates to the first. While food between your teeth is bad for your teeth, it is even worse for your gums. And gum diseases are a huge issue. The CDC estimates that around 47% of all adults over the age of 30 suffer some type of gum disease.
Such diseases can be painful and difficult to treat. But even when they don’t cause discomfort, bacteria from gum infections can still find their way into your bloodstream and attack other systems in your body, making you more prone to suffering all sorts of health conditions.
This is often referred to as the oral-systemic connection, and dentists believe it is the reason why people who suffer from gum disease are statistically much more likely to suffer from strokes, diabetes, heart diseases, and various other health conditions.
All those issues can be prevented by flossing once a day. You know the saying: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
If you have tried to floss regularly before and stopped because it was too frustrating, buy some flossing picks from your local pharmacy. Those make reaching awkward angles much easier.
3 – Clean your tongue
Don’t forget to thoroughly brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. Just like your teeth and your gums, your tongue is also prone to accumulating plaque and bacteria. This will not only make you more prone to suffering from halitosis — bad breath — but it can also spread to other areas of your mouth or get in your bloodstream.
4 – Get professional cleaning
Don’t worry, this is the last tip related to cleaning. As you are probably aware, dentist offices aren’t just a place to get your teeth checked for cavities and other issues. They are also where you can book an appointment with a dental hygienist, who can give your teeth, gums, and tongue a thorough cleaning. You should go in to see a hygienist every six months or so, as it will greatly reduce your chances of needing dental work down the line.
5 – Monitor your gums
One of the reasons gum diseases are so common is because they can be relatively easy to ignore, especially early on. Of course, people go in to see a doctor when their gums are hurting, bleeding, or both. However, gum diseases often present themselves with much more subtle symptoms, especially in the early stages.
Issues like this are why it’s important to get a dental checkup every six months or so. You can also keep an eye out for symptoms yourself. Go see a dentist if your gums have recently become swollen, puffy, bright red, purplish and if you have started noticing blood whenever you brush your teeth or floss them.
6 – Avoid unnecessary dental work
Some dentists are a little too comfortable recommending dental work that patients don’t actually need, as this guide on unnecessary dental treatment shows. It’s important to be careful, as dental work is never risk-free, and dental work often leads to more dental work. If you have reason to be worried, and the issue isn’t an emergency, consider getting a second opinion.