Good for you for wanting to optimize your oral and dental health! To help you achieve your oral health goals, here we share our best dental tips straight from the dentist.
It’s Not Enough To Brush Regularly — You Need To Brush Properly
We understand you do your best with brushing your teeth, but you might be surprised to learn you can cause issues including tooth decay if you aren’t doing it properly. So, what’s our best tip on how to brush properly? Follow these pointers:
- Choose a multi-benefit toothpaste that fights cavities, protects enamel, reduces sensitivity, and promotes gum health
- Use a soft bristle brush
- In order to reach every surface of every tooth, use gentle circular motions when brushing
- A good time guideline is to spend about 15 seconds per tooth front and back
- Make sure to reach the edges and backs of every tooth
- Consider investing in an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor — this will help avoid aggressive brushing which can lead to receding gums
- Bacteria live on all surfaces in your mouth — make sure to brush your tongue and the insides of your cheeks every time
- Rinse your mouth well after brushing to remove debris
There you have it, the perfect brushing technique!
Don’t Say You Floss Regularly If You Really Don’t — We Can Tell!
Trust the experts: Dentists and dental hygienists can easily tell if you haven’t been flossing regularly (even if you tell us you do!) Flossing is not something you can fake. So you need to commit and do it at least once a day. It only takes a few minutes but the payoff is exponential.
If you hate flossing, you have options with different flossing tools. Ask us for recommendations of products you might find easier to use. Even if you use the perfect brushing technique described above, your toothbrush just can’t reach all the places food likes to hide. Flossing will get rid of those hidden food particles your toothbrush can’t reach, while reducing plaque buildup. Your gums will also thank you for the gentle stimulation that flossing provides.
Use Fluoride Mouthwash As A Final Step In Your Dental Routine
Mouthwash with fluoride is a great last step for your brushing routine. You’ll rinse away any last debris, provide an additional dose of fluoride and also have fresh breath. Win, win, win!
Ramp Up Your Calcium Intake
Calcium builds healthy teeth and bones. If you are lacking calcium in your diet, your teeth won’t be as strong, and you might experience more sensitivity. Dairy products are obviously a good source, but calcium supplements are a good option if you aren’t keen on dairy.
Say Goodbye To Cigarettes
You likely already know deep down that smoking is very bad for your health, so we will refrain from that lecture! But if you weren’t aware, smoking is also very bad for your teeth and gums (this also includes vaping). Aside from unsightly yellow-stained teeth, smoking also reduces saliva production in your mouth, which allows bacteria to run rampant, leading in turn to greater risk for cavities and gum disease. Just another important reason to quit!
Water — Always!
Water is always your first, best choice of beverage. Many drinks are bad for your teeth. Beverages like coffee, tea and red wine cause staining that can be hard to remove; other drinks have too much sugar like sodas; still others contain a lot of acids like fruit juices. So when thirst hits, reach for pure, clean water. It helps produce saliva, rinses away debris, and contains no calories as a bonus. Also, water won’t erode your teeth or produce harmful acids and bacteria. If you insist on drinking sugary, acidic, or staining drinks, use a straw to bypass your teeth as much as possible.
Your Diet Plays A Role Too
Committing to a thorough oral care routine is an excellent start. However, there’s more to a healthy mouth than your dental hygiene. Even if you ace your dental care regime, if you don’t commit to a healthy diet also, you can suffer from a long list of health and dental issues. Here are some tips to start sprucing up your diet:
- Reduce sugar and carbs, especially fried foods, and you’ll do a whole lot of good for your teeth and body.
- As already mentioned, calcium-rich foods are great for your teeth and bones, and make perfect snacks.
- Fresh fruits and veggies are always a smart choice, for your body and your teeth. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips or candy, try a banana or an apple, or some crunchy carrots or cauliflower.
- Healthy snacks rich in calcium and/or protein will do wonders for your teeth and your overall health. Try a handful of nuts or cheese cubes to satisfy those afternoon snack cravings.
If You Play Sports Or Grind Your Teeth — Wear A Mouth Guard
If you are an athlete of any kind, you know certain sports carry a high risk of mouth injuries. This is where your dentist can help. Commit to protecting your teeth when you play sports by wearing a customized mouth guard professionally fit by your dentist. (Especially if you’ve had orthodontic work done, you don’t want to risk permanent injury to your new smile.)
And you don’t have to be an athlete to suffer from bruxism, or night-time teeth grinding. If you grind your teeth at night, we can also provide a custom nightguard to reduce damage from the constant pressure of teeth grinding together. Your smile will thank you, and you might just get a better night’s sleep!
One Of Our Best Dental Tips Of The Day: Use Your Teeth Only For Their Intended Purpose
You may not have thought of this one, but it is very important. Answer this question honestly: how often do you use your teeth for things they weren’t intended for? For example, opening packages or bottles, biting your nails, eating ice (see the next tip about this), or chewing absent-mindedly on the end of a pen? All of these habits can lead to tooth damage, including serious cracks. So another tip from your dentist: only use your teeth to chew and bite food, as this is the only purpose for which they were intended!
Don’t Chew Ice!
There seem to be two groups of people: those who chew ice and those who don’t. Chewing on ice can cause a lot more damage than you might think. Biting down on anything hard like candy can lead to serious cracks and breaks, and ice falls into this category, so just don’t do it! Leave it in the glass where it belongs. And from those of us who don’t enjoying chomping down on ice cubes, it really is a loud and annoying habit, so we appreciate your effort to stop!
Go To Bed At Night Instead Of Snacking
If snacking at bedtime or in the middle of the night is a habit you’ve fallen into, it’s a habit you need to break. Eating right before bed is the worst time of day to eat, for several reasons. First, it just isn’t healthy from an overall digestive point of view, and second, even if you snack and then immediately brush your teeth, you’ll still be going to bed with food debris in your mouth. Those food particles will sit on your teeth all night long while you sleep, causing bacterial growth. This is the perfect storm to create cavities and gum disease.
And surprisingly, healthy snacks are also a no-no late at night, for the same reasons. Bottom line? No late-night snacking — full stop.
Keep Up Your Regular Dental Checkups
Your dental hygienist is an important key to maintaining excellent oral health through regular professional dental cleanings, as they can remove the plaque and tartar your toothbrush can’t. And if you miss these professional cleanings on a regular basis you can get into serious dental trouble.
But there’s more to it. Your check-ups allow us to look for possible oral health issues that might be brewing, unbeknownst to you. If we spot problems early on you can avoid pain and the high cost of restorations down the road. Regular checkups keep your teeth clean and prevent severe issues from developing. Plus, we always enjoy seeing you!
The good thing about dental health is that most issues are preventable and fixable. You know the old saying: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is one of the best dental care tips for healthy teeth and gums we can give you. The better you are at consistently and properly caring for your teeth, the less risk you’ll have for serious issues.
One last tip from a dentist: let us know about any changes to your oral health as soon as you notice them. We’ll take a look right away and make sure we take care of it before it becomes serious.
For more information on our best dental tips, call today to schedule an appointment at 416-232-2033 or click here to request an appointment.