Do you do anything to take care of your body? Do you try to watch what you eat? Exercise? Do anything to relax and reduce stress? Sleep 7-8 hours a night? If so, make sure you aren’t neglecting your teeth, either!
Your New Albany implant dentist encourages you to do the following things at home to keep your teeth in good shape. Keeping your mouth healthy can prevent a lot of problems and make your dentist appointments smoother, quicker, and less expensive!
Brush Twice a Day
Toothbrushes have been around for about 5,000 years. They might have evolved quite a bit to what we use today, but even our ancestors recognized the importance of keeping their teeth clean!
The American Dental Association and your dentist recommend that you brush at least twice a day for couple minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride naturally cleans your teeth and fights bacteria, while other ingredients are gently abrasive and help scrub the plaque off your teeth. Because bacteria works in cycles, it’s important to clean your teeth at least twice a day to keep the bacteria at bay. Don’t forget your tongue, either; it loves to harvest bacteria, especially on the back!
It’s fine to brush with a whitening toothpaste, but if it irritates your mouth for any reason, switch it for another.
Be careful not to brush too hard or with a toothbrush that’s too hard on your gums – you might actually be doing damage to your enamel! If your teeth are very sensitive, try switching to a softer brush; if that doesn’t help, let your New Albany dentist know. He may be able to recommend solutions for you and also check that there’s not another issue causing the sensitivity.
It’s also important to replace your toothbrush when the bristles start fraying, usually every 3 to 4 months.
If you have kids, make sure you teach them how to brush their teeth well before monitoring them when they start doing it on their own. (Kids can get a little distracted and forget where they were at, or swallow their flavored toothpaste!)
Floss Every Night
When was the last time you flossed? Last night? A few days ago? Or, more likely, a month or two ago? (If you don’t want to admit when you last flossed, then keep reading!)
Many people brush twice a day – there’s a greater incentive because you want to keep your breath smelling fresh and plaque off your teeth especially when you’re around people – but a lot of folks skip out on flossing, or only floss if they eat corn on the cob, for instance.
There’s a reason we recommend flossing: it keeps bacteria from building up in between your teeth, bacteria that contributes to cavities and gum disease! It’s especially important if your teeth are very close together.
You might bleed a little when you start flossing if flossing’s a new part of your routine. That’s normal. If you brush and floss regularly but continue to bleed easily, let your New Albany dentist know.
Drink Plenty of Water
Communities in our country have been fluoridating their water for about 70 years now, which has helped reduce tooth decay by up to 25 percent!
If you have fluoride in your water, you should still brush with fluoride toothpaste. If you don’t, we may be able to recommend a fluoride mouthwash you can use at home as a supplement. You should also check to see whether your bottled water contains fluoride.
Water also helps flush out food debris and keeps your mouth moist and your saliva flowing. Make sure you’re drinking enough water every day, especially with meals or after sweets. Swishing water in your mouth after you eat or drink something sweet is a good practice to adopt, too.
Keep Healthy Snacks Around
You can’t really ignore the healthy food craze that’s sweeping our nation! Some things are trends that will fade, but people seem to be more aware about what they’re eating and what the food’s doing to their bodies.
Did you know that being food conscious is important for your mouth health, too?
We talked a little in a recent blog post about sugary foods and drinks and acidic drinks like soda eroding the enamel on your teeth, putting you at greater risk for tooth decay. Make sure your healthy oral habits include the foods you’re putting in your mouth. Try to replace more of your sweet or starchy snacks with fruits and vegetables or foods that are high in calcium and strengthen your teeth, like yogurt and cheese.
Also, limit your snacking and nursing on sweet drinks throughout the day. The more you do this, the longer your food will stay on your teeth before brushing.
Limit Tobacco Products and Excess Alcohol
If you use tobacco or smoke, you probably know it’s not healthy for you already. But if you want to know how it affects your mouth, just do a quick Google search and take a look at the images!
We’ve mentioned before that tobacco can contribute to cavities, gum disease, dry mouth, oral infection, oral cancer, and throat cancer. Excess alcohol exposes your teeth to a lot of sugar and acid, so it’s not very friendly to your enamel!
Take the Time at Home to Take Care of Your Mouth
If you haven’t been diligent in the past about your oral health at home, don’t be ashamed – now’s the time to start making new habits! If you do have any problems from neglect, don’t be so embarrassed that you won’t come in to see us, because Dr. Receveur and our team here won’t lecture or judge you!
If you have any questions about caring for your oral health at home, call us today, and don’t forget to make it to your regular New Albany dentist checkups twice a year for a thorough preventative cleaning!