Good oral care at home includes brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist twice a year. These simple habits can help you maintain good oral health. Here are the best practices for maintaining good oral health.
Keeping up with a consistent oral health care routine is crucial for keeping your mouth healthy between visits to the dentist. You should brush your teeth for a minimum of two minutes twice each day using a soft-bristled toothbrush. A soft-bristled brush is the better choice for removing plaque and debris from your tooth enamel and gumline without damaging your teeth and gums. You should also replace your toothbrush every three to four months or when the bristles begin to fray. A frayed bristle will not clean your smile effectively and may damage your gum tissue.
In addition to brushing your teeth thoroughly, you should floss daily to remove food particles and plaque buildup between your teeth and gums. Use an ADA-accepted brand of floss to prevent damage to your gums and ensure you are getting the flossing technique right. If you have questions about the best oral hygiene practices for your needs, ask your dentist for advice. He or she can help you develop an oral healthcare regimen that is right for you.
Using a mouth rinse with antiseptic properties at least once or twice a day is an important step in maintaining good oral health at home. It helps dislodge food and plaque from hard-to-reach places and can also help prevent gum disease by killing harmful bacteria in the mouth before it has a chance to take hold. Look for an antimicrobial formula that also has fluoride in it for optimal protection against tooth decay. Once you’ve finished brushing and flossing, simply swish the rinse around your mouth for a minute or so before rinsing it off. This should help remove any debris left behind in between teeth and other hard-to-reach areas.
One of the best ways to keep your mouth healthy is to avoid eating foods that can negatively impact your oral health. Try to eat a mouth-healthy diet that is full of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, and whole grains. Avoid foods that are high in sugar or carbohydrates, as these can contribute to tooth decay. For example, candy, cookies, soda, and other packaged snacks are high in carbs and sugar. Starchy foods like potato chips, pretzels, crackers, and even bread can also increase the amount of plaque on your teeth. These types of starchy, carb-heavy foods can also lead to cavities. If you must snack during the day, try and eat fresh fruits and vegetables instead. Crunchy vegetables like carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, and raw apples will stimulate your gums and promote the production of saliva to help wash away bacteria and food particles from the mouth. Try to also avoid tobacco, alcohol, and coffee, as these can all stain your teeth and cause further discoloration over time. Tobacco cigarettes are one of the worst culprits when it comes to staining teeth as they contain nicotine that will leave a nasty yellow residue behind on your enamel when you smoke, which can prove very difficult to remove by simply brushing alone. Alcohol is another substance that will dry out your mouth, which can lead to the development of gum disease or oral cancer. Coffee is also notorious for causing stains on the teeth due to its dark pigments. If you do drink coffee, try to drink through a straw to limit the amount of time that the beverage spends directly contacting your pearly whites.
Your doctor can help identify any problems early and suggest treatment that could prevent the need for more invasive procedures down the road. A biannual checkup typically includes a thorough cleaning, an oral cancer screening, and X-rays to detect potential problems. Your dentist may also check your bite alignment and screen for tooth decay or gum disease.
Regular checkups are also important because they allow your dentist to get to know you and your mouth better. Over time, they may notice changes in your oral health that may warrant additional attention.
Request an appointment or call Phoenix Family Dentistry at (602) 755-6684 for an appointment in our Phoenix office.