We’ve put together some tips for protecting your oral health. These are simple things you can do in everyday life to keep the cavities and bad breath away!
1. Brush Your Teeth Every Day
There’s a reason you hear this advice all the time. Brushing your teeth is the single most important way to prevent tooth decay. Brushing removes leftover food particles and oral bacteria, which when left on the teeth cause cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.
2. Flossing Is As Important As Brushing
We know if you haven’t been flossing! Flossing is important because it removes bacteria and plaque from between teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. Tooth decay often starts between teeth because these places are cleaned less often.
3. Use Toothpaste With Fluoride
Fluoride helps strengthen the teeth and may help reverse early signs of tooth decay. It’s an important ingredient in toothpaste to strengthen weakened spots in enamel and prevent cavities.
4. Limit Sugar Intake, Including Sugary Drinks
Sugar contributes to tooth decay because it feeds the bacteria that live in our mouths. Bacteria feed off of the leftover food particles on the teeth, and if the food contains a high sugar content, bacteria can multiply even faster. Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet will help keep oral bacteria at bay.
5. See Your Dentist Twice A Year
Even the best oral hygiene regimen still needs to include seeing your dentist regularly. Your dentist can spot early signs of tooth decay or gum disease, helping you avoid painful or complicated dental procedures. Annual X-rays will examine the jaw to ensure teeth are firmly in place.
6. Maintain A Healthy Diet
Teeth need nutrients, too. A healthy diet filled with fresh vegetables and food that requires a lot of chewing is good for saliva production. More saliva means the mouth is naturally washed out more often, helping prevent plaque from forming.
7. Stay Hydrated
Your body needs water to produce saliva, which naturally washes out the mouth and helps prevent tooth decay. This helps prevent excess plaque build-up.
8. Don’t Forget Your Tongue
Your tongue shouldn’t have a white or yellow appearance. When you brush your teeth, don’t forget to brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper to remove foul-smelling bacteria that can cause bad breath.
9. Don’t Chew On Hard Items
This may go without saying, but try not to bite down on hard candies or even non-food items like pen caps or fingernails. This can damage teeth.
10. Take Care Of Your Toothbrush
Your toothbrush doesn’t need any special cleaning but make sure it dries after each use and there is no leftover toothpaste. Store it upright and exposed to air and your toothbrush will be good to go!
Check off the ones you already complete on a regular basis. Then strive to add one more item regularly to your daily routine each week. If you have a family, partner, or roommates, you can create something fun. We have to admit, we need to make things fun at this time. What else can we do?
Our advice is, to create a calendar or use an existing one if you still have a hanging calendar at home. Assign everyone a pen or highlighter color, use stamps, initials, whatever you need to give everyone their own signature on the calendar. As you complete the “Oral Hygiene Tip of the Week” each day. add your mark to the calendar. At the end of a time you decide on as a group, the winner gets a prize.
We recommend this game for families with kids, but we all need incentives right now, and the prize can be ‘age appropriate”. I think of easy stuff – choosing the topping on the Friday night pizza, which movie to watch, which walk to take together, no dish duty, no garbage duty – you get the picture.
We can all use a little diversion from business as usual. I hope adding a little oral hygiene challenge to your week can help make this mundane activity fun, and may even prove to reduce the nagging. “Did you brush your teeth?”
For those of you who have children, the American Dental Association has a series of videos each about 2 minutes long, that you can start and run as your child cleans their teeth. Again, designed to decrease the nagging and help us to spend more time on our oral health.
I hope you enjoy this adventure in oral health. All dental care providers hope to be able to get back to taking for your oral health soon, but until then, help us out. We want to praise your home care when we see you next.
If you are in need of dental care click here to see if you may qualify for an RDHAP in your area!