Brushing, flossing and visiting your dental team 2-3 times per year are the foundations of good oral care routines, but chances are, you already know that!
The basics of how to care for your teeth, gums, mouth and jaw are typically well known to most, but there are many other ways that you can optimize your oral health. We wanted to share some that you may not already be aware of.
-Overbrushing can weaken your tooth enamel so be sure to brush the recommended twice per day. Do not brush for 30 minutes after eating, as the teeth may be more porous after an acidic meal.
-Don’t brush too hard or brush horizontally because this can damage your gums. Instead, use small, circular strokes to cover each tooth on all sides.
-Be sure to brush each region of your mouth for 30 seconds each. You should brush your teeth for about 2 minutes each time you brush.
-Don’t forget to brush your tongue. Removing the bacteria on your tongue helps to freshen breath and keep your mouth healthy.
-It’s important to store your toothbrush properly by keeping it upright so that it can dry and not storing it in a closed container unless you’re traveling. Rinse your brush with warm water after each use and place it upright to reduce bacteria build up.
-Consider switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush because hard bristles can damage your gums and expose tooth root surfaces if they’re not used properly. Even better, choose an electric toothbrush which is more efficient at removing bacteria and plaque.
-Replace your toothbrush every two to three months and after any time you have been sick. This will help to prevent germs from spreading in your mouth.
-Your diet affects your oral health so be sure to maintain a healthy diet. Avoid sugary and sticky foods, as well as those that are highly acidic. This includes carbonated water!
-Choose foods that will help to strengthen your teeth include leafy greens, almonds, yogurt and cheese.
-Keep hydrated by drinking lots of water. This helps maintain a healthy saliva flow which supports your dental health by moving food particles through your mouth and preventing most of them from lodging in your teeth where bacteria can grow. It also helps to keep your mouth comfortable and moist.
-Don’t use mouthwash directly after brushing because you can rinse away the fluoride from your toothpaste when you do this.
–Check for signs of oral cancer. This is something you can do ourselves at home and that your dentist can check for you during your regular exams. Look for abnormalities, such as red or white patches of discolouration and lumps along your soft oral tissue. Oral cancer can develop anywhere inside of the mouth, including the lining of cheeks, the tongue, the soft tissue of the gums and the roof of the mouth.
-Don’t use your teeth as tools. This is one of the most common ways that cracks and chips are created. Avoid the urge to rip open a package with your teeth or bite something to close it. Use the appropriate tool instead.
-Address grinding and clenching issues as they can cause damage and wear to your teeth. There are a variety of reasons for grinding and clenching so talk to your dentist about how to reduce the aggravating factors and protect your teeth.
While most people are well aware of basic oral care practices, there are numerous other ways you can optimize your oral health so you can look and feel your best for years to come.
Talk to your dentist if you have any questions about the best ways to care for your mouth and keep it healthy!