Dental Care at Home: Are You Even Doing It Right?
Answers to Your Oral Hygiene Questions
Sure, you’ve been brushing and flossing your teeth your whole life, but are you really taking the best care of your smile that you can? Have you ever stopped to ask questions like: Am I using the right toothpaste? When is the best time to floss? What else can I do at home to stay healthy? Thankfully, these important questions come with thorough and helpful answers thanks to me – an expert dentist!
What Is the Best Toothpaste for You?
Since when did picking out a toothpaste become so hard? There are seemingly thousands of choices, all crammed in one aisle, so how do you know which one is right for you? Start with the process of elimination! Look for toothpastes that have the American Dental Association (ADA)’s seal of approval. From there, it’s vital to choose a nonabrasive toothpaste so you don’t use a product that could harm your enamel. Lastly, think about your personal preferences. If you have sensitive teeth, you could try a desensitizing toothpaste. For gum disease, there is toothpaste that focuses on gum health. However, if you just want a good toothpaste, choosing any of the top brands with the ADA’s seal will usually be fine.
How Can You Floss Better?
Flossing may seem simple, but there are a few things to keep in mind to make it as effective as possible. Instead of forcing your floss up and down, gently move it back and forth, creating a “C” shape around each tooth. This better removes plaque and food debris without irritating your gums. Plus, it’s just easier! If you have a little one who has difficulty flossing, or if you have dexterity issues, pre-strung floss picks are incredibly simple to use.
As a dentist, I recommend that everyone flosses once a day. While any flossing is better than none at all, I like to do this part of my dental routine at night after brushing. That way, I can remove all the nasty germs that have built up in between my mouth throughout the day, going to sleep with a clean smile.
Are You Using a Mouthwash?
If you don’t use a mouthwash in addition to your brushing and flossing, it’s time to start. While mouthwash should never be used as a substitute, it’s a great way to give your smile an extra layer of freshness. Plus, it cleans areas of the mouth that are difficult to reach on your own with brushing and flossing. Just make sure that you’re using a nonalcoholic, ADA-approved mouthwash. Alcohol dries out the mouth, which promotes bacterial growth (yikes) so stay away from that!
What Does Your Diet Look Like?
The last part of your oral healthcare routine at home may seem obvious, but it’s what you actually are putting in your mouth. Sugary sodas, coffees, sports drinks, and other beverages coat your teeth unnecessarily, increasing your risks of cavities. Sticky or hard treats like caramel or taffy stay in contact with your teeth for long periods of time, making it more likely to get decay. The bottom line is that decreasing your sugar intake can dramatically improve your oral health. Fruits, veggies, and most important of all, WATER, will help wash away harmful acids and bacteria in your mouth while keeping your teeth healthy and strong. If you must indulge in a sugary beverage, use a straw so it doesn’t touch your entire smile. Additionally, dark chocolate is a great option when it comes to treats because it’s good for your body and washes away easily.
Oral healthcare is a breeze with a little know-how. Just keep my key tips in mind for the most effective at-home routine so you can enjoy life with a healthy, cavity-free smile!