Good oral hygiene, besides keeping your smile healthy, can prevent costly and painful dental problems. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene at all ages. Here are some ways how:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. Brush for at least two minutes in a gentle circling motion to remove plaque and food particles from the teeth and gums. Don’t forget to brush the surface of your tongue, besides removing plaque causing bacteria and food particles, it will help keep your breath fresh.
- Eat a balanced diet and avoid sugar filled treats. Sugar is food for the bacteria in your mouth and eating it increases the amount of bacteria causing more plaque and possibly cavities.
- After eating or drinking acidic food/beverages, rinse your mouth out with water. Acid weakens enamel, so wait at least one hour before brushing.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day. Bacteria and food particles can lurk where your toothbrush can’t reach, between your teeth and under the gum-line. Flossing helps keep your gums healthy.
- After brushing and flossing, use mouthwash or swish your mouth out with water. This helps remove food and bacteria that brushing and flossing has loosened from your teeth. Besides helping with fresh breath, some mouthwashes contain fluoride. Ask your dentist if a fluoride mouthwash is a good option for you.
- Avoid tobacco, both smoking and chew. Tobacco will stain your teeth, worsen or cause gum inflammation and disease, and can eventually lead to oral cancer.
- If you have braces, be sure to visit your dentist regularly. Regular checkups are even more important than ever for orthodontic patients. With braces, food and bacteria can get caught in places that toothbrushes cannot reach and flossing correctly is much more challenging. Bacteria build up can lead to cavities and gum disease. While in orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist/dentist may want to change your regular checkups to be more often to prevent problems before they begin.
- If you play sports, be sure to ask your dentist about a mouthguard. Mouthguards help protect your smile from impact trauma that can occur while playing certain sports. Mouthguards that are made by your dentist to custom fit your mouth are much more effective than “boil and bite” ones that your can get in the store. Custom mouthguards fit better, distribute force better, and protect better.
- Dental sealants are protective coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of molars, where decay often starts in deep grooves. Ask your dentist if dental sealants are a good option for you or your children.
- Replace your toothbrush regularly. Toothbrushes wear out and collect bacteria from normal use. Your dentist recommends that adults and children should change their toothbrush once a month. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions – you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush to keep it clean. It is recommended to regularly soak your brush in hydrogen peroxide or mouthwash to kill germs. If you’ve been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.
- Be sure to see your dentist for regular checkups and professional teeth cleanings. Most people can be seen every six months, but some people require more frequent visits. Talk to your dentist to determine your appropriate schedule.
If it’s been six months since your last dental checkup, then it’s time to contact Black Mountain Family Dentistry to schedule your next appointment!