Routines: we all have them, and we’re all guilty of getting a bit lax when we get too comfortable in them. That’s how we end up leaving the car door unlocked, the windows open when it rains, an email unsent, and our teeth half cleaned.
In many cases, tightening the slack in our routines is as easy as remembering each step, and in other cases you need to make a few tweaks to how you do things. Dental care is a great example of that. Our New Albany team knows a few handy tricks that can help you get a lot more out of your typical dental routine, all with minimal added effort!
Let’s Start In The Morning
Your morning routine probably goes something like this: get up, shower, get dressed, eat if you have time, brush your teeth, and out the door. The one thing that’s out of place in that average American wakeup is brushing: it should always be done before you eat, preferably as soon as you wake up.
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t brush our teeth to get rid of food particles. We brush them to get the excess bacteria off because of how much damage it does to your teeth and gums. Bacteria forms on your teeth while you sleep and throughout the day, and when you eat it consumes the sugars in your food, turning them into acid. The acid that is produced by plaque bacteria erodes your teeth’s protective enamel and irritates your gums. It’s important to get rid of as much of it as possible before you eat!
If you’ve been brushing after breakfast you could actually be doing more harm to your teeth. Plaque acids actually soften the enamel, and something as gentle as brushing your teeth can scrape and damage it. You need to wait at least 30 minutes between eating and brushing or else you’re risking the health of your teeth!
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should face the day with a mouth full of food particles. We recommend rinsing your mouth with mouthwash or water before you leave the house. If you brushed before you ate it should be more than enough to freshen you up!
What About The Middle Of The Day?
We’re probably all guilty of checking our breath in the middle of the day, especially after lunch. But if you recall what we said above you’ll realize that brushing in the middle of the day is a bad idea, especially if you’ve just eaten!
If you feel the need to brush around lunchtime do it before you eat so that you’ll have less bacteria in you mouth to cause damage and bad smells. You can also opt to just use mouthwash, water, or to chew some sugar-free gum.
Chewing gum after lunch is a great way to freshen your breath. It’s minty, it helps stimulate saliva production, and it gets food particles out from between your teeth. If it’s sweetened with xylitol you’re probably getting even more benefit out of it!
Xylitol is a sugar alternative that does amazing things for your teeth. You can find a lot of sugar-free gums that are sweetened with xylitol because of its great taste and health benefits – it actually repels oral bacteria. When you chew xylitol sweetened gum you’re coating your teeth in a protective layer that makes it harder for bacteria to stick to your mouth, which in turn gets them out of there and reduces acid production. We highly recommend xylitol gum after a midday meal!
What To Do In The Evening
As you get ready for bed be sure you haven’t eaten anything inside of a half hour or so – you don’t want to brush a mouth full of plaque acid! Aside from that you’re probably doing everything right, especially if you’re flossing.
If you aren’t flossing you need to start doing it every day. Flossing is essential to good oral health because it goes places your toothbrush can’t. The spaces between your teeth are some of the most sensitive spots in your mouth, and if you don’t keep them clean gum disease and cavities are going to soon pop up in places you can’t detect.
The Last Oral Health Puzzle Piece
Brushing and flossing can go a long way toward preserving your oral health, but it can’t go as far as a professional exam. Make sure you’re seeing us at New Albany Implants every six months for a checkup that will ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy for years to come.
Whether you need an appointment or have questions about dental care give us a call: we’re here to help! You can reach our New Albany office at 888-469-3982 or you can request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon!