When we see our dentist regularly and incorporate a strict oral hygiene routine, we stand a much better chance of having a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.
The best defense against decay, gum disease, and tooth loss is taking the proper preventive measures.
The following list of tips should help you in your quest for a long-lasting smile.
The Right Toothbrush and Technique
Choose a soft toothbrush with bristles that vary in length, and a head small enough for you to navigate into the hard to reach areas of your mouth. Also look for a toothbrush that has a comfortable grip, and hold it at a 45-degree angle, using even strokes as you brush the front and sides of your teeth. When brushing the backs of teeth, hold the brush vertically and use shorter, quicker strokes.
Electric or motorized toothbrushes are another good tool and can be especially helpful for those who have arthritis or conditions that impede fine motor skills.
Brush for three minutes twice a day. Only brush additionally if you have consumed sticky sweets, otherwise, drink water or rinse your mouth.
Remember to replace your toothbrush every three months.
Don’t brush too hard. Brushing too often or too hard can actually damage your gums and the roots of your teeth. It’s also a good idea to wait an hour after drinking acidic beverages to brush your teeth; the acid softens tooth enamel and brushing too soon after can actually wipe away some of that enamel.
Flossing is part of brushing. To remove plaque between teeth, floss at least once a day. If you don’t floss, you are missing at least half of the plaque and bacteria on your teeth. If you have difficulty using floss there are interdental brushes available at your supermarket or drugstore that are highly effective in removing hard to reach materials.
Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride not only prevents cavities, it also helps strengthen tooth enamel. The American Dental Association recommends using a rice sized dab of fluoride toothpaste on a small, soft toothbrush for babies and toddlers up through the age of two. At age three, start using a pea-sized dab up until six years old, then use the normal amount.
Communicate With Your Dentist
Inform your dentist of any bleeding that occurs when you brush. Also report other dental symptoms such as sensitivity, pain, a lesion, or anything out of the ordinary.
Avoid Sugary Sweets and Between Meal Snacking
Oral bacteria feed on sugar and release acids that cause tooth decay. When you do indulge in sweets and snacks, try to have them with a meal or as dessert. This helps your saliva neutralize the acids.
Drink Plenty of Water
Your oral health benefits from staying hydrated, as dryness decreases your body’s ability to sweep away plaque and debris. Drinking water also helps rinse away food particles left after a meal.
Avoid Unhealthy Habits
Tobacco products, excessive use of alcohol, and chewing on inedible objects are detrimental to your dental health. If you grind your teeth, ask your dentist about getting a night guard to prevent wearing down of enamel and adverse effects to your jaw.
Dr. David Scott provides comprehensive dental care in. If you are in need of a compassionate dentist who can help you maintain, enhance, or restore your smile, call our Tuscaloosa dental office today.