Practicing proper dental hygiene requires a lifetime commitment. Even if you’ve been told you have a nice smile, you need to stay on top of maintaining your pearly whites. Every day, patients ask about steps they can follow to keep their smiles bright and beautiful. Even if you don’t see immediate effects, realize that most dental care is all about daily habits and prevention. This involves getting the right products for you and creating healthy habits that will last. Let’s take a look at the top 5 tips for achieving better oral health.
Brush your Teeth Twice a Day for Two Minutes
Let’s start with the basics. The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends that you brush your teeth for around two minutes at least twice a day. This is to help prevent plaque from forming on your teeth. If you spend less than two minutes brushing, you simply won’t remove as much plaque. In fact, a recent study showed that simply increasing your brushing time from around 45 seconds to 2 minutes can help remove up to 26% more plaque.
When it comes to choosing the brush that’s right for your teeth, make sure to stay away from hard bristles. Try to select a toothbrush that fits your lifestyle needs as well. If you’re on the go more often, use a manual toothbrush and brush your teeth with small, circular motions across all of your teeth and gums. If you’re in one place more often, go for the electric toothbrush with a rotating brush head. Remember to switch out your brush whenever the bristles become stiff, frayed, or discolored.
Floss After you Eat
One of the most important habits to start and maintain is flossing. It’s not fun and it takes patience to master, but the rewards are definitely worth it. Basically, flossing helps keep the in-between, hard-to-reach areas of the mouth clean and debris-free! Think of floss as the fun attachments that come with your all-in-one vacuum cleaner that helps you clean baseboards, reach corners on the ceiling, and clean underneath sofas. To keep your teeth healthy and clean, floss at least twice a day or after every meal to ensure all food particles are removed.
Most people brush their teeth first and then floss afterward, but the reverse is actually the best way to go about it. If you floss your teeth first, you’re removing the harder-to-reach particles from all the crevices in the mouth. Then, when you brush your teeth, it’s easier to remove everything from the mouth, including what you just flossed out. Make sure you talk to your dentist about proper flossing methods before building an incorrect habit. If hand-held flossing isn’t working, speak to your dentist about using other methods of flossing.
Put simply, smoking increases your risk for gum disease by over 50%. Not only does it completely ruin your oral health, but it also leads to other serious illnesses like multiple types of cancers, heart disease, and diabetes. The most common problems smoking causes to your dental health are: bad breath, tooth yellowing, increased build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, and delayed healing after all types of oral surgeries. The more serious problems smoking causes are bone loss within the jawline, increased risk of leukoplakia and gum disease, tooth loss, and a significantly increased risk of developing oral cancer.
Since smoking is one of the most addictive habits to break, the ADA informed patients that once they stop smoking, they can see immediate restorative benefits in their oral health. For instance, smokers who reduced their smoking amount by half had immediately decreased their risk of gum disease by 50%. A separate study showed that leukoplakia had completely resolved within 6 weeks of over 96% of patients who stopped using all tobacco-related products (including smokeless). Ask your dentist immediately for resources that can help you kick your smoking habit today!
Manage your Stress
In today’s society, stress seems like another progression of life. So, the idea of ridding yourself of stress seems like a fairytale image. However, being mindful of stressful situations as they arise and practicing stress-relieving techniques can actually make a huge difference in your oral health. In short, stress can make it harder for your body to fight against infections. Gum disease is essentially an infection of your gums that causes painful bleeding gums, tooth loss, and bad breath. Stress can also cause you to develop unhealthy habits like clenching your jaw or even pick up smoking.
Some ways to help you relieve your stress include: managing your sleep schedule to get 8 hours of sleep, exercises that help you practice breathing, meditating on things that bring you peace, and shaving off any bad habits or people from your life that cause any sort of wrongful treatment to you or your mental health.
Schedule Regular Dentist Visits
Most everyone has heard that we’re supposed to visit our dentists twice a year. While this is certainly a great start to a healthy habit, this rule of thumb doesn’t count for everyone. It’s important to remember that you and your smile are unique and will require customized care. To figure out how often you should visit your dentist, you’ll need to sit down and discuss your oral health needs.
Some people who may require more visits a year include:
- Women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
- People with significant oral health problems like gum disease
- People with dental needs requiring more visits (braces, dentures, and more).
These Are Our Top 5 Tips for Achieving Better Oral Health
There are many tips and tricks to maintaining a healthy and happy smile. The most important thing to remember is that your dental hygiene is unique and requires a unique approach to preventing bad things from happening. While most tips are usually applied to all, speak with your dentist about setting up an oral health care plan that suits your needs. Schedule out the needed dentist visits, talk about what foods to eat and which products would work best for your and your smile. Remember, achieving better oral health is mostly about prevention! Act now before requiring any kind of serious treatments for necessary clean-ups.
To get started on improving your oral health, contact our professional and pleasant staff here at Mountain View Dental. If you have questions or want to schedule an appointment, give us a call today at 385-324-3557!