Keeping your smile healthy and beautiful goes beyond brilliant white teeth. Excellent oral health comes from consistent care–not just your regularly scheduled visit to the dentist or whitening treatments. While visiting your dentist’s office for checkups and regular cleaning is an important contributor to your oral–and overall–health, your daily habits are essential to ensuring your teeth and mouth are happy and healthy at every age.
Here are eight essential habits that you should incorporate into your day:
- Brush properly. You’re probably already brushing daily but unless you’re using proper techniques, you’re not getting the best clean. You should be angling your brush at a 45 degree and so the bristles are in contact with both your teeth and the gum line. Thoroughly brush in an up and down as well as a back and forth motion but be gentle - brushing too hard will cause damage to your teeth and gums.
- Clean your tongue. Using your toothbrush or a tongue scraper will reduce the amount of bacteria living on your tongue, helping prevent halitosis (bad breath) and tooth decay.
- Floss daily. If you’re guilty of skipping, you might think it’s just a little white lie when you tell your dentist you floss regularly but skipping it means you’re not getting a complete clean and harmful buildup will occur.
- Don’t ignore early signs of dry mouth. If you’re experiencing unexplained dry mouth, talk to your doctor about it - it can be an indicator of larger health problems. Dry mouth can lead to significant oral health problems and can create a loss of taste sensitivity.
- Avoid processed foods and excessive sugar or salt. Eating too much of these can cause tooth decay, reduce your enjoyment and taste sensitivity toward subtler (healthier!) foods, and harm your overall health.
- Your teeth aren’t tools! Your mom might have chided you when you were little and she was right - using your teeth to open bottles, crack nuts, or even tear open stubborn packaging puts you at risk of chipping or breaking your teeth.
- Throw away your frayed toothbrush. A good guideline is every three months– when the bristles start to fray, or after you’re sick, whichever comes first. Old toothbrushes are significantly less effective and they harbour harmful bacteria that can cause and spread infections.
Start using an alcohol-free mouthrinse. People often say they don’t floss or use rinses, and I tell them if you want to keep your teeth longer, and potentially reduce your risks associated with smoking, and reduce your risks of oral infections and cankers, you should start. Most people do not brush thoroughly, especially at the back, and flossing along with an antibacterial and antimicrobial rinse will go a long way in protecting the health of your mouth, gums and teeth.
Even when brushing, flossing, and cleaning your tongue as thoroughly as possible, there are many small crevices and surfaces you can’t reach or particles you can’t release. Using a quality, therapeutic mouthrinse, like the one we’ve developed in Nicorinse, for 30 seconds once or twice a day will help you clean away hard-to-reach bacteria and residue that brushing alone can’t accomplish. Importantly, it will keep your mouth and gums moisturized and protected with regular use.
As a dentist, I probably love my patients more than they love coming to see me. So, to avoid your own dentist more often, I will give you the same advice I give to my patients: make oral hygiene part of your daily routine, like making your bed or making breakfast is a habit. You’ll enjoy fewer (and quicker) dental visits and better overall health. Even your wallet will be smiling.