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Are you practicing good oral health care? We often find that people tend to put their oral health on the backburner. You might say, “Well, I can floss tomorrow.” Or, “I brushed my teeth this morning; I should be fine.” The fact of the matter is, in order to have proper oral health care, you should practice the below 15 steps in getting you back on track!

Invest in a proper toothbrush

This is a big one. Most people don’t know how often they should change their toothbrush.  According to the ADA, you should change your toothbrush every 3-3 months, depending on the bristles. Most dental professionals recommend using soft bristled toothbrushes vs. hard bristled. The soft bristled toothbrush is softer on the gums, removes plaque easier, and can eliminate debris from your mouth. However, we here at Acre Wood Dental recommend a powered toothbrush. Powered toothbrushes do a better job of cleaning your teeth. Plus, most powered toothbrushes come with an automatic timer, assuring proper cleaning time. And, today’s powered toothbrushes are smart and can tell you where you are missing places and even where you should target more.

Brush twice a day

Brushing twice a day is important. In the evening is where most people miss brushing. They are either tired after a long day or just forget. The evening is the most important time to brush. Think about all the food and drinks you have consumed in one day. By not brushing at night, the bacteria in your mouth have more time to multiply and take over. This is how cavities can start to form. So remember, brush twice a day for 2 minutes at a time.

Brush using the proper technique

The proper way to hold your toothbrush is at a 45° angle. Angle your toothbrush and use small strokes going up and down and left and right. Be sure to not press too hard. You want to avoid making your gums bleed. Be sure to brush your teeth and gums. Brush the front and back of your teeth. Also, brush for 2 minutes.

Brush your tongue

Don’t forget your tongue! There are a ton of bacteria on the tongue and bad breath comes from the tongue.  Your tongue is covered in tiny bumps called papillae, and within the grooves of these bumps, they collect bacteria, dead skin cells, and food particles. Gently scrub your tongue, cheeks, and roof of your mouth using back and forth movement. You can also use a tongue scraper. You can glide the tongue scraper over your tongue which “scrapes” off the thin layer of mucus and bacteria. You should use your tongues scraper before you brush your teeth. Once you have scraped your tongue, brush and floss your teeth like normal.

Floss every day

Flossing is an important part of good oral care. This is also the hardest for most people to keep on top of. Small bacteria infiltrate the small cracks in your teeth. Without flossing, those bacteria can build up and cause decay and build-up. Flossing also helps prevent gum disease. Gum disease is irreversible. So it is good to stay on top of flossing daily.

Stay away from sugary snacks and drinks

These types of foods are what cause cavities! Sugar converts to acid which in turn stars to erode the enamel on your teeth. Try to limit your sugary intake daily. Avoid soda, beer, candy, and cookies/cake.  If you do eat or drink something high in sugar, just remember to brush your teeth!

Ingest plenty of Vitamin C

Calcium helps build strong teeth and healthy gums. There are a ton of foods out there, like milk and yogurt, which contain healthy doses of Vitamin C. There are also lots of fruits and veggies that contain Calcium as well. One thing you want to avoid is acidic fruits. So, fruits like oranges, lemons, or limes should be avoided. The acid in those fruits can break down the enamel on your teeth.

Eat foods that are good for your teeth

There are a ton of food options for creating a happier, healthier smile! Foods like milk, yogurt, seafood, and cheese contain good amounts of Vitamin C. There are also crunchy foods like apples, celery, and carrots that contain a lot of water and also help “brush” your teeth while you eat. Foods like berries, raisins, nuts, and beans are high in antioxidants. Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kombucha contain probiotics which are good for your gums.  There is a whole bunch of foods out there that will help your oral health.

Avoid chewing ice

Chewing on ice can become an addiction. If you are an avid ice chewer, now is the time to stop!  Chewing ice can crack or even chip your teeth. On top of that, ice damages the enamel on your teeth making you more prone to cavities or decay. If you have any fillings or dental crowns, you run the risk of damaging those as well.  In some cases, people have even started getting teeth sensitivity to hot or cold foods/drinks.

Avoid tobacco products

Cigarettes or smokeless tobacco both contain a ton of chemicals that are detrimental to your oral health. Cigarettes contain over 4000+ chemicals. The smoke you inhale and exhale can reduce the blood flow to your gums.  Cigarettes also cause bad breath, stained teeth, and dull your sense of taste and smell.  Smokeless tobacco causes tooth decay and gum disease. Both can lead to oral cancer.  If you smoke or use smokeless tobacco, now is the time to stop.

Invest in a good mouthwash

Mouthwash is a powerful agent that can not only freshen your breath, but it can reach areas you might have missed while brushing and help ward off gum disease! Many dentists prefer you use a mouthwash that contains fluoride.  If you are worried about bad breath or gum disease, there are mouthwashes out there that are antibacterial.  Antibacterial rinses help fight plaque and gingivitis. Read the ingredients before choosing a mouthwash that is right for you.

Don’t ignore any pains in your mouth

Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. If you feel pain in your mouth, it is best to get an appointment to get it looked at. A lot of times, people will take some over-the-counter pain medicine and avoid the issue altogether. Well, that is not always the best idea. By avoiding the issue, you can end up causing more damage to your tooth or gums. It is always best to get it looked at.

Drink more water

Water is a good way to wash away any sugars or acids from your teeth and mouth.  Plus, water doesn’t stain or lead to cavities! Most water contains Fluoride which is nature’s cavity fighter. Drinking water that contains fluoride helps protect your teeth from decay.  Water also prevents dry mouth. When your mouth is dry, more bacteria can build in your mouth. Water is a great way to keep your mouth hydrated. So, remember to drink lots of water.

Use fluoride

We touched on it a few times in this article, but Fluoride helps protect your teeth!  Fluoride is a naturally occurring compound that can help prevent dental decay. That is why it is widely known as nature’s cavity fighter. Fluoride can protect teeth two ways, systemically and topically. Systemic fluorides are those ingested into the body.  Topical fluorides strengthen teeth already present in the mouth by being incorporated into the surface of teeth making them more decay-resistant. Water fluoridation is a very effective method for preventing dental decay for children, adolescents, and adults. Fluoride is safe for people of all ages!

Visit the dentist regularly

Be sure to come to the dentist twice a year. Getting your exam and teeth cleaning is a good way to maintain good oral health and help prevent cavities and gum disease. Going to the dentist also can help find any problems or issues that are below the surface. If you haven’t been to the dentist is a while, you should reserve your appointment today!