Brushing, flossing, and rinsing form the three pillars of oral health, but they’re only the beginning. Dental hygiene extends beyond the bathroom and into the choices you make every day. There are a number of steps you can take to ensure you can start Improving Dental Hygiene; we’ve compiled a few of our favourite suggestions here.
Visit the Dentist
Of course we’re going to start with this one!
If you’re among the roughly 50 percent of adults who don’t see a dentist yearly because of dental phobia, finances, or just plain neglect you could be placing your health at risk.
Visiting your dentist twice a year can catch problems such as decay, gum disease, or cancer at an early stage when they’re treatable, and more affordable. Dentists have training, techniques, and technology that not only makes finding these issues easier, but lets them see things you simply can’t at home. From x-rays to diagnostic lasers, dentists are able to see beneath the surface of your mouth and detect the earliest signs of potentially major problems.
Help for the Young and Old
Children should see a dentist by the time they are one year old, and until they are coordinated enough to tie their own shoes they’ll need help cleaning their teeth. Early childhood is the best time to develop habits, so getting your children into healthy oral hygiene routines at this time can set them up for life.
Older folks have their own oral issues that can make brushing and flossing challenging amongst other health issues. Fortunately there are many devices and gadgets which are exclusively designed to make oral hygiene easier for people with limited mobility. These include specially designed flossing devices and electric toothbrushes which facilitate self-sufficiency for those who otherwise can’t take care of themselves.
Keep An Eye on Food and Drink
Fizzy is fun but also part of the reason soda is so bad for your teeth. Two ingredients – phosphoric acid and citric acid – give soda it’s “bite” but they also make your tooth enamel softer and more susceptible to cavities. Switch to water instead, adding flavor with sliced citrus or crushed berries or mint leaves.
Sugar is a major culprit in tooth decay. It fuels bacteria and acidity in your mouth, causing plaque to form and eat away at your enamel and gums. Try to cut down on sugary treats, and aim to brush and floss after every meal or snack.
Carb-heavy processed wheats can also present problems for teeth for much the same reasons as above. Carbohydrates are the fuel of most living things, and that goes just as much for you as it does the bacteria in your mouth.
Quit smoking. Obviously easier said than done, but it’s just another reason to give up the habit. The nicotine and tar in cigarettes turn your teeth an unsightly shade of yellow, they also create a ripe environment for bacteria and plaque on your teeth and along the gum line. This harms tissue, degrades the bone that supports teeth, and, eventually, increases your risk of tooth loss. Even worse, tobacco chemicals can lead to oral cancer.
Smoking is also a contra-indicator for many important dental procedures. Dental implants, for example, generally won’t be performed on people who smoke. The reason is that the failure rate of dental implants in smokers is much, much higher than the general population.
In an otherwise healthy mouth, a dental implant can last many decades. In a smoker, the success rate over 20 years is significantly lower.
If you’re a sports player, always, always wear appropriate mouth protection. Damaged teeth are the perfect place for bacteria to infect the inner tissues of the teeth and gums — the dental pulp, the gum, the bone. If you don’t protect your teeth, you may find yourself needing a root canal or even tooth extraction before too long.
Keep Check of Your Personal Hygiene Routine
Do you know how often you should change your toothbrush? We wouldn’t be surprised if most people reading this had had their current toothbrush for a year or so.
In reality, s soft bristle toothbrush, using the right technique, will last two to three months – replace when you notice bent bristles or sooner. After this the bristles stop being as effective, and your toothbrush has possibly turned into a thriving home for bacteria.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day, hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, pointed toward the gum line, and use gentle, short, circular motions. Brush each tooth 10 to 15 times, but don’t overdo it. Overly aggressive brushing can damage teeth and erode your gum line. Take your time, don’t rush, and take care.
Everyone hates flossing, but the importance of flossing in proper oral hygiene really cannot be overstates. That’s the reason why your dentist will almost always ask if you’ve been flossing: you should be!
Flossing fosters healthier teeth and gums – wrap about a foot of floss around your index fingers, keeping about two inches between your fingers to work with. Unroll a fresh section of floss for each tooth, and keep the floss tight against the tooth to break up plaque while leaving your gums in good shape.
If you have questions about improving dental hygiene call Dentrix Dental Care in NW Calgary as soon as possible at 403-288-5500 for our Market Mall location or 403-289-9908 for our North Hill location. The goal of our dental team is to help you achieve a healthy, great-looking smile in a professional and friendly environment.