We all know that sometimes keeping up with your oral hygiene is a hassle. Going to the dentist often can be expensive but if you stay in a routine the right way you won’t have to. Here are some tips to help keep your teeth happy and healthy without breaking the bank.
- Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day – Many of us have heard this before, but it is the number one step to keeping your teeth clean and your pockets from being spent. What some don’t realize is that you shouldn’t brush your teeth after you eat, especially if the food had any acidic ingredients like oranges, lemons, or even soda. Acidic foods break down and soften tooth enamel, so brushing too soon can damage the enamel and in return can make it difficult to repair. Tooth enamel is not living tissue so you can’t get it back once it’s gone. Some toothpaste can help strengthen the existing enamel, like fluoride, and your dentist can add a plastic sealant to bond your enamel, providing extra layers of protection. All in all, it’s best to just brush your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.
- Practice Good Technique – When I went to visit my dentist for a checkup and cleaning, the hygienist had told me something I didn’t know my whole life! When you brush your teeth, hold the toothbrush at an angle, aiming the bristles toward the area where the tooth meets your gums. That’s where all your food gets stuck and even just brushing like we all think we do right, there’s still food and other germs in between your teeth and gums. Who would have thought all this time I was even brushing my teeth the wrong way.
Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes. Don’t brush them too hard or with bristles that are hard and can hurt your gums. You don’t want to damage your gums when you brush. Brush in a circular motion, outside, inside and all around the chewing surfaces of your teeth as well as your tongue. Make sure you get those teeth that are way in the back of your mouth, sometimes those can get missed. Trust me, you’re not the only one that misses those back teeth.
- Use Proper Equipment and Keep Them Clean – Nowadays we can have electric or battery operated brushes at home, similar to the ones they use at the dentist office. Even though they are more pricey than a regular toothbrush, consider getting one because they are actually better for your teeth. The electric toothbrush can reduce plaque and a mild form of gum disease or gingivitis. They have even proven to help with keeping your gums healthy with less tooth decay. Your teeth are healthier longer and your dentist will be impressed. The electric toothbrush is even helpful with those who have arthritis or other complications that make it difficult to brush your teeth. The regular toothbrush doesn’t do that. So toss out that old toothbrush we have all been using for centuries, and get yourself an electric toothbrush.
You should also remember to replace your toothbrush, even the electric toothbrush, every three months. You should also replace the brush if the bristles get hard or irregular because again, you don’t want to damage your gums. Your brush should be soft and gentle on your teeth and gums.
- Flossing – For our whole lives, our dentist has been telling us to floss our teeth after brushing them. I am even guilty of not doing that. Sometimes you’re running late because you slept through the alarm and you just don’t have time to brush and floss your teeth. I totally get it, but it still is very important. Just brushing your teeth alone can’t reach the bacteria that’s left in between your teeth and under the gum line.
When you are flossing, try to be gentle. Don’t snap the floss into your gums, it can make them more sensitive. Gum sensitivity is painful and can end up becoming a serious problem. Take it one tooth at a time by sliding the floss into the space between your gum and tooth, then in an up and down motion. If you still find it difficult to floss, you can use a dental pick, pre-threaded flosser, a water flosser, or a wooden or silicone wedge plaque remover. As long as you do a thorough job, it doesn’t matter if you floss or brush first.
- Mouthwash – Even after you have brushed your teeth and flossed them, using mouthwash to finish is another great way to keep up your oral hygiene. Find one that contains fluoride, yes I mentioned fluoride again because it is the best thing for your mouth. Fluoride prevents cavities, rebuilds weakened tooth enamel, slows down the loss of minerals from tooth enamel, reverses tooth decay, and prevents harmful bacteria. I would recommend using Crest or Colgate products. Personally, I use Crest mouthwash because you can just feel the cleanliness.
For more tips or information on keeping up with your oral hygiene, contact us at Jenson Dental today!