10 Tips for Healthy Teeth & Gums
Brushing and flossing are part of a good dental routine. However, there are other things you can do to help maintain healthy teeth and gums that can benefit your overall wellbeing.
1. Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day (Two Minutes Each Time!)
Oral health and hygiene begin with regular maintenance. Brushing for two minutes at a time twice a day will help to keep plaque at bay. Patients with children should introduce this concept early, and find ways to make it fun.
To make it easier to clean every tooth, try to spend 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth. Use small, circular motions and angle the head of the brush towards the gums. Be sure to clean all surfaces, as well as along the gum line on both the fronts and backs of your teeth. Some patients find using an electric toothbrush helps as well.
2. Floss Daily
We recommend flossing every night before brushing to remove anything that you are unable to dislodge with your toothbrush. If you skip flossing, small particles of food and other deposits that are missed can eventually cause decay. To avoid this, make sure you take two minutes a day to floss. When you first start flossing, it may cause sensitive gums to hurt. This is natural and will stop in a few days. Make sure you slide the floss up and down along the whole tooth. Resist the impulse to ignore the tight spaces between your teeth; these are the most important places to floss because your toothbrush can't reach them.
3. Replace Your Toothbrush Once It Starts to Wear Out
As a general rule, you should change your toothbrush or replaceable toothbrush head every 3 to 6 months. Damaged or frayed toothbrushes are unable to clean the surface of your teeth correctly and can cause damage to your gums. Replacing your toothbrush before it wears out also allows you to help keep it clean. Make sure to always rinse your toothbrush well and store it so it can dry. Remember to replace your toothbrush if you've been sick to prevent bacteria from being re-introduced into your mouth.
4. Visit Your Dentist Twice A Year
If you attend regular dental appointments, your dentist will be able to prevent issues before they start, or potentially catch them early. Regular visits also allow your teeth to get a thorough professional cleaning twice a year, removing any buildup of plaque and tartar, which helps to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
5. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Avoiding the consumption of too many sweetened foods (such as pop, sports drinks, and candy) as well as including foods high in calcium will help to support strong and healthy teeth. Some foods that will help to strengthen your teeth include leafy greens, almonds, yogurt, and cheese. Ask your dentist for more information and recommendations of foods that will help keep your teeth strong for years to come.
6. Supplemental Dental Hygiene Products
Brushing and flossing are key to preventive dental health, but you can help keep your teeth in top condition by incorporating other oral hygiene products into your routine. Products include mouthwash, oral irrigators, interdental cleaners, and tongue cleaners can help support good oral health and should be used in conjunction with regular brushing and flossing.
7. Stay Hydrated
Sufficient hydration is not only generally good for your health but also helps maintain a healthy saliva flow. Saliva is essential to dental health by moving food particles through your mouth, preventing most of them from lodging in your teeth where bacteria can grow. It also helps to keep your mouth comfortable.
8. Avoid Smoking
Smoking causes cosmetic concerns such as tooth staining as well as severe health issues like gum disease. This can further which can lead to tooth loss and oral cancer, among other issues. One of the best things you could do for your oral and overall health is to quit smoking immediately.
9. Consider Dental Sealants
Dental sealants fill the depressions and grooves (fissures) of your molars and premolars, helping to protect your teeth from cavities and plaque. Sealants can help many people, but children and teens are good candidates as they often don't brush as well as adults, leading to a higher rate of cavities.
10. Regularly Examine the Inside of Your Mouth
While regular checkups with your dentist are an excellent preventive measure, issues can develop in the months between visits. To prevent major concerns, you should do a quick scan of the inside of your mouth as part of your daily routine.
Check your teeth and gums for anything that has changed or seems unusual. Make sure you share this information with your dentist at your next appointment or call your dentist's office if you discover anything concerning. Regular self-exams are beneficial to maintaining your health.