Regular visits to your dentist are essential for maintaining your oral health. However, your dentist isn’t the person in charge of your teeth: you are. Here are seven steps you can take in between visits to keep your teeth in great shape.
Brush at Least Twice Daily
Cavities form when bacteria consumes material on your teeth, causing small holes that grow over time. By brushing your teeth, you remove this material, helping to prevent decay. Furthermore, brushing your teeth plays a crucial role in protecting your gums by eliminating the bacteria that can cause gingivitis and worse infections. However, dentists also advise against brushing too frequency or too harshly, as doing so can remove some of the protective enamel on your teeth. Furthermore, soft brushes help protect your teeth.
Although brushing your teeth is the primary defense against tooth decay, mouthwash is great for getting an extra boost of protection. Mouthwash formulas vary, but most contain fluoride, which is wonderful for protecting against cavities. Furthermore, mouthwash helps ensure you wash away any debris that wasn’t fully removed with brushing, giving your a clean and clear mouth. Mouthwash penetrates into spots unreachable with a toothbrush, and it’s great for giving you pleasant breath.
Use a Tongue Scraper
Bacteria doesn’t just collect on your teeth and your gums: It stays on your tongue as well, potentially leading to some dental health problems, including tooth decay. Tongue scrapers improve the appearance of your tongue and can improve your breath in addition to keeping bacteria from spreading to your teeth. Try to scrape your tongue daily, preferably after brushing your teeth and before washing your mouth.
Limit Midnight Snacks
Sometimes, a late-night bite to eat can be a fun treat. However, try to ensure you’re not eating after you’ve brushed your teeth, as doing so leaves material on your teeth that can decay your teeth. If the urge to dine after brushing is too great to resist, consider brushing your teeth again or at least using mouthwash to clear away debris and remove sugar and acids.
Flossing is Important
In the past, headlines have stated that research showed flossing to be unnecessary, but nearly all experts disagree . If you’ve flossed your teeth in the past, you’ve likely noticed bits of plaque or other debris collecting on the floss itself, and this is material that a typical toothbrush just can’t reach. In addition, flossing is essential for gum health. Although it may be a bit painful at first, developing a flossing habit will pay huge dividends for keeping your teeth and gums in great shape, and it helps prevent bad breath as well.
Limit Sugary Drinks
Some people can’t get enough soda, but too much sugar can cause a number of dental problems. Sugar breaks down quickly as bacteria enjoys feeding off of it, and regularly consuming sugary drinks gives bacteria a steady supply of food. Furthermore, many drinks are far more acidic than people realize, and this acid softens the enamel of your teeth, making them more vulnerable to damage. Brushing immediately after drinking an acidic beverage might by unwise as hard brushing could remove some of the softened enamel. Washing your mouth out with water or mouthwash, however, can help mitigate damage.
Avoid Biting Hard Items
Our teeth are designed to crunch on food, and biting down on anything harder can lead to cracks and other problems. Crunching on ice cubes, for example, is a risk for tooth damage, and even people with healthy teeth are at risk of permanent damage. Furthermore, chewing on hard items can cause teeth to shift over time, leading to a less attractive smile and the need for orthodontic work. Chewing gum, however, is safe, but try to stick with sugar-free gum.
Many people fear going to the dentist. However, regular visits ensure your smile remains attractive and healthy. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to ensure your meetings with your dentist are quick and pleasant. Building a few healthy habits will go a long way.