Maintaining healthy and beautiful teeth throughout your life requires dedication and attention to detail. Even teeth that look amazing and feel great can have underlying issues. To avoid those problems, you need to choose the proper oral care products and put them to use on a consistent basis.
Here are 13 steps you can take to ensure good oral health throughout your life:
- Brush twice a day. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you brush twice a day, and you should never go to bed without brushing your teeth. You avoid having plaque accumulation from throughout the day attack your teeth all night, and fluoride from the toothpaste will actually bolster your teeth overnight.
- Choose a proper toothbrush. The ADA recommends a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. The head should be small enough so that it is easy to maneuver into crevices. Either a manual or electric toothbrush is fine, and there are both kinds of products available that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance. You should also replace your toothbrush or brush head every three months or whenever there is fraying or other wear.
- Use fluoride toothpaste. Look for an ADA-accepted toothpaste, which will contain fluoride as a requirement. Regular fluoride use is vital to preventing tooth decay. There are many products on the market, and beyond fluoride, you can choose a product according to your preferences. Note that regular or occasional use of toothpaste with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda can help to neutralize the acids in your mouth.
- Brush well. It is very important that you brush the right way. Brush for at least two minutes, and it may help early on to use a timer so that you can get a sense of how long that actually is. Be gentle. Soft circular motions are all that is needed to remove plaque from teeth and gums. Never scrub your teeth.
- Brush your tongue. Skipping the tongue is among the most common mistakes people make. Plaque builds up on your tongue too. It can lead to bad breath but also oral health complications if left uncleaned. You may want to consider a tongue scraper, which simplifies the task and is relatively inexpensive.
- Floss daily. Plaque can harden into tartar within 24 hours, which is what the ADA recommendation of flossing daily is based on. Flossing more frequently on occasion because, for instance, you have food stuck in your teeth is all right, but it is possible to over-floss and damage your gums, so take care.
- Rinse regularly. If you brush after breakfast and before bed, what about lunch, dinner, and snacks? The ADA recommends rinsing vigorously with plain old tap water. You can add a drop of a non-acidic natural oil such as peppermint oil to freshen your breath. The ADA also recommends using a therapeutic mouthwash once a day. Look for a product with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
- Hydrate. Hydration is great for your overall health. It also helps with your oral health since it rinses your mouth and stimulates saliva production. There is no rule for how much water you should drink. Drink when you are thirsty, and it is a good idea to always have water on hand so that you can sip it throughout the day.
- Limit beverages with sugars and acids. Beverages that contain acids and sugars really do a number on your teeth, and this can be particularly problematic if you opt for soft drinks rather than water most of the time. Drinks with sugars lead to plaque, but acid is just as bad, and diet sodas can actually be worse for your teeth than regular sodas.
- Snack on crunchy vegetables. Crunchy vegetables are great for your health. The crunch means that a vegetable is still loaded with nutrients. These vegetables also clean your teeth, promote saliva production, and provide healthy exercise for your jaw. For warmed vegetables, steam them just long enough for the desired warmth.
- Do not use your teeth as a tool. Your teeth are for chewing food, not for cracking nuts or ripping open packages. You should also be wary of overly hard foods, such as hard pretzels. You may be surprised at just how many people each year require an emergency dentist visit due to cracking a tooth on a pretzel or nut.
- Protect your teeth from injuries. If you participate in athletic activities, invest in a custom-fit mouthguard. If you notice signs you may be grinding your teeth at night, talk to your dentist about a custom-fit night guard for bruxism.
- Get your teeth cleaned and examined regularly. When it comes to oral health, the biggest mistake people make is scheduling dentist visits as a reaction to a problem rather than scheduling preventative care twice a year. Your dentist will clean your teeth to remove any tartar, give you a fluoride treatment to strengthen your teeth, and perform a comprehensive examination of your mouth. Your dentist can then give you personalized recommendations.
Maintain a Beautiful and Healthy Smile
The best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy and stave off high dental costs down the road is to see your dentist at least twice a year. Jeffrey D. Clark, DDS, is among the leading dentists in Scottsdale. Dr. Clark offers the latest in preventative dental care as well as cosmetic and restorative treatments. Schedule your checkup and cleaning today by calling Scottsdale Dental Excellence at 480 585 1853.