Top 10 Dental Hygiene Tips
Dental Hygiene Top 10:
1) Brush Properly. Believe it or not there is a wrong way to brush for proper dental hygiene.. It is important to brush after breakfast in the morning to remove plaque and bacteria that have accumulated over night (and from your morning meal) and to brush last thing at night because saliva (which helps to wash the cavity-causing plaque off teeth) dries up as we sleep. Toothbrushes should come with a small head and very soft bristles. Your dental hygiene all starts with proper brushing.
2) Floss your teeth at least once a day if not more. This will keep plaque from building up. Use dental floss to clean in between the teeth where plaque collects. Floss before you brush to remove any plaque or food particles. It is important to floss regularly because about 90% of cavities occur between teeth. Hold floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers and guide it between your teeth using a gentle sliding action. When the floss reaches where the tooth meets the gum, curve it into a V shape against the tooth and gently slide it up and down between the gum and the tooth, Do Not” Shoeshine” (rubbing floss side to side ) as this motion can cause notching in the root. Repeat for the other side and every tooth. An inter dental brush can be used for larger gaps.
3) Rinse your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash twice a day. Make sure you do not swallow it. Discuss with your dentist which rinse is best for your oral condition and dental hygiene maintenance. Listerine is a great product with many combinations to suit almost every need. It is also one of the only rinses backed by years of scientific research. The benefits of a mouthwash are that they can reach areas not touched by brushing alone. Rinse twice a day. Once in the morning and last thing at night and always after brushing.
4) Limit your sugary foods to avoid getting tooth cavities. Think about what you are eating. Do you want the best or worst foods for your dental and overall health? If you do choose a sugary or high acid food, chew a sugar free gum or xylitol gum. This will increase salivary flow in your mouth which will get rid of lingering sugar and neutralize acids faster. The bacteria will not cause decay in a clean neutral environment.
5) Use a fluoride toothpaste. A fluoride tooth paste will help strengthen your enamel, making it tougher for bacterial acids to break down. Toothpaste also helps control plaque build up and keeps your teeth white and healthy!
6) Electric Toothbrushes. These are recommended by most dentists for their superior performance when compared to old fashioned manual brushing. Electric toothbrushes tend to have small brush heads that cup around the tooth and are faster and more efficient in cleaning areas of the mouth where bacteria and plaque collect. They are great for people who brush aggressively, as they brush for you. They are also easier if you have limited manual dexterity. Many also have a timer so you know you are brushing for the correct amount of time. Using an electric toothbrush will make all your dental hygiene efforts even easier to attain.
7) Eat your vitamins. Maintain a healthy diet to give your teeth and oral tissues (bone and gum tissues) the nutrients they need. Make sure you have enough B vitamins and calcium to keep your teeth strong! This is often overlooked in most dental hygiene programs.
8) Avoid Dry Mouth. Saliva provides an essential defense against tooth decay and periodontal disease by washing and rinsing the bacteria in the mouth. Patients who experience decreased salivary flow generally have increased dental health problems. Chronic dry mouth or xerostomia could be a side effect to certain medications or a symptom of a systemic disease. Your dentist can recommend several products to combat this problem. The leader in this category is Biotene. Without proper salivary flow or moistness in oral cavity your dental hygiene will suffer.
9) Clean Your Tongue. A major cause of bad breath can actually come from bacteria building up on your tongue with a high percentage of it accumulating at the back, making it hard to reach. Use a proper tongue scraper every morning to remove tongue plaque and freshen your breath.
A daily tongue scraping will help remove harmful bacteria. The use of a tongue scraper is more effective than brushing your tongue with a toothbrush. A good example of a tongue scraper for dental hygiene is the orabrush.
10) Change your toothbrush out regularly. Did you know you should change your toothbrush every two to three months for good dental hygiene? If you do not then bacteria will collect on the bristles and you will transfer them back into your mouth. Also over time the bristles will become worn and ineffective. The same rules apply for electric toothbrushes. If your toothbrushes are wearing out before two months then you are probably brushing too harshly.
Ask your dentist or dental hygienist to show you the proper way of brushing to maintain proper dental hygiene. Always chose a toothbrush with soft not hard bristles as hard bristles can cause damage to the teeth and your gums. Follow the steps above along with regular visits to your dentist and you will be on your way to having great dental hygiene.
Marielaina Perrone DDS