There are a lot of ways you can frame your day: the time between meals, the time between sleep, or the time spent on oral care routines. Most of us don’t do that, but if we did it might look something like: get up, brush, work, brush, floss, bed. Not exactly an exciting way to think about your day, and there are a lot of gaps in between when you should be considering your teeth!
At New Albany Implants we focus in state-of-the-art dental restorations, but that doesn’t mean we want you to lose your natural smile! The goal of any dental practice is first and foremost to preserve natural teeth, and that’s what we’re here to talk about today.
We’re going to walk you through the average day and how you can get just a little bit more out of your oral care routine. Some of these simple, non-obtrusive habits could make a big difference for your smile!
Waking up can be easily the worst part of the day. Your body is fighting for a few more minutes of sleep, you keep hitting snooze, and your mouth – it tastes horrible.
That sticky, nasty feeling is plaque. It’s the bane of your teeth (and gums) existence. It causes cavities and gum disease, and you need to get rid of it pronto. You’ve probably heard from various sources on the internet and your life that you should brush after meals, but that could actually be doing more harm than good!
The key is understanding plaque’s role in tooth decay. Plaque bacteria releases acids when you eat. They soften and erode your teeth’s enamel and cause cavities. Popular mythology likes to think that we brush to remove food particles from our teeth, but in reality we’re doing it to remove plaque and prevent the formation of acids. If you wait until after you eat to brush the acid has already been produced, and it has softened your teeth – you can actually scrape your enamel when you brush after eating!
Our recommendation for a good morning routine is to brush as soon as you get up. After you eat use an oral irrigator, mouthwash, or simply rinse your mouth out with water.
Lunch Break Habits
The same prohibition on brushing goes for your midday meal: don’t brush your teeth after you eat lunch! Instead, rinse your mouth out, use mouthwash, or just brush before you eat. It’s also not a bad idea to chew some sugar-free gum either. Xylitol is a great alternative sweetener for chewing gum, and some studies show it can actually help protect your teeth!
Xylitol actually prevents bacteria from sticking to your teeth, making it a great way to stop the acid attack after you eat lunch. Chewing gum also helps stimulate saliva production, a key part of rinsing away bacteria and the acids they produce. Just pop a piece in your mouth after lunch and you’ll be doing your teeth (and your coworkers) a favor.
So, to run down our lunch time recommendations: don’t brush – you could harm your teeth. Rinse and chew gum for the best health benefit.
Toothpaste: The After Dinner Mint
By the time you’ve eaten dinner and the evening has rolled around you’ve probably noticed that your breath isn’t the freshest anymore. Plaque builds up on your teeth in a half-day cycle, so by bed time and the morning your teeth are coated.
Resist the urge to brush immediately after eating because the acid on your teeth is still weakening your enamel. The same goes for after dinner snacks and even alcoholic drinks – they can all add to the acid levels in your mouth and weaken your enamel.
For best tooth brushing results wait at least a half hour after your last meal, snack, or drink (water doesn’t count). Acid attacks last for about 30 minutes, and your enamel usually firms back up by that point.
Make sure you ALWAYS floss in the evening – it’s just as important as brushing! The plaque that builds up on your teeth is also building up in between them. Imagine never brushing at all – that’s what goes on between your teeth when you skip out on flossing, and the results are cavity and gum disease city!
Your Dental Care: It Can Be Easy!
Taking care of your teeth doesn’t have to be a challenge. In fact, if you stick to some basic care habits you could do a lot to take your oral health to the next level. As always, our team at New Albany Implants is always here to answer any questions you have about your smile.