10 Tips for Better Oral Health
Taking care of your teeth is a lot more than just brushing, flossing, and visiting our office for regular cleanings. In fact there are many tips we share with our patients that they’ve never heard of. These dental hygiene tips make your life easier and help you to enjoy good oral health, as well as good overall health.
- Brush Your Tongue
Believe it or not, your tongue is an absorbent surface that harbors millions of bacteria. Any time you brush your teeth it’s important that you also brush your tongue. Pay special attention to the back of the tongue, where most food particles and plaque build up.
There are also several types of tongue scrapers out, which help to squeegee away plaque build up. Give it a try and you’ll be shocked at the amount of plaque you remove. This plaque causes bad breath and decay. By removing it you’re ensuring your mouth is kept healthy, along with the rest of your body.
- Don’t Over Brush
It can be tempting to brush several times throughout the day, but the reality is the most you really need to brush is three times a day. Anything more than that and you’re risking damaging your gums and tooth surface. Over time excessive brushing can result in increased tooth sensitivity due to nerve exposure because of gum damage or recession. Stick to the recommended two to three times a day and you’ll be golden.
- Regularly Replace Your Toothbrush
Your toothbrush collects germs over time. It’s important that you regularly replace your toothbrush so that you can effectively clean your mouth and avoid re-introducing bacteria. We recommend replacing it every three to four months or when the bristles begin to fray; whichever comes first.
- Brush for the Right Amount of Time
We recommend patients hit each mouth zone for 30 seconds during brushing. This amounts to about two minutes per brushing session and ensures you hit the front of your mouth, your back teeth, and the side of your teeth.
- Brush in Circles
Contrary to what people think, it is not recommended that you brush in a back and forth motion. This can erode your gums over time and make you more susceptible to tooth sensitivity and decay. By brushing in circles you’re helping to avoid rubbing your gums away and keeping your nerves from becoming exposed and sensitive.
- Limit Alcohol
Alcohol has a tendency to dry out your mouth, which can cause bad breath. This is because mouths that are chronically dry tend to be a great breeding ground for odor causing bacteria.
- Eat a Healthy Diet
What you eat plays a big role in how healthy your mouth is. Processed foods, foods high in sugar, and carbohydrates can all lead to tooth decay. Fill your diet with healthy fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins and you’ll not only feel better, but also will find your mouth is healthier.
- Drink With a Straw
When you decide to enjoy a sugary drink like soda, try drinking through a straw. This helps to limit the amount of soda your teeth are exposed to and in the end limits decay.
- Don’t Rinse at Bedtime
Some evidence suggests that by not rinsing after you brush at night you’re offering a little more protection from cavities due to the prolonged exposure of fluoride. So save yourself some time and water and skip rinsing during your nighttime brushing routine
- Watch for Meds
Some medicines can cause dry mouth. Pay attention to whatever you’re prescribed and make it a point to counteract dry mouth before it even begins. We recommend chewing sugar-free gum, sucking on sugar-free hard candies, and always having a bottle of water with you.