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Did you know that 46% of Americans aged 30 and above have gum disease?
Also, 20% of American children between five and seven years of age suffer from tooth decay. These statistics show why it is vital to prioritize oral hygiene for you and your children.
Dental hygiene is more than just brushing your teeth and avoiding sugary foods. It involves many other best practices to protect your teeth and maintain healthy gums.
Keep reading to learn nine oral hygiene tips to help you have a beautiful smile for life.
1. Brush Frequently and Gently
You’re probably familiar with the common emphasis on brushing your teeth twice a day. Brushing will remove food particles and other substances that can lead to tooth decay.
However, brushing will only help you have good oral health if you do it correctly.
One correct brushing technique is moving the toothbrush in small circular motions. Ensure that you brush all parts of the teeth, including the top, back, and front. The brushing process should last two or three minutes.
Brush your teeth gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush. The soft bristles facilitate superior teeth cleaning because they can bend and reach all parts of your mouth. Additionally, the soft bristles will massage your gums, leading to better blood flow across your gums.
Being aggressive or using a toothbrush with stiff bristles will only injure your gums and enamel. The injuries may lead to other issues like tooth sensitivity or gum erosion.
Remember to brush your tongue when brushing your teeth. This way, you will prevent plaque buildup and foul mouth odor.
2. Use Fluoride
Experts argue that fluoride improves dental health by preventing cavities. When buying toothpaste, ensure that it contains fluoride as one of the ingredients.
If you choose teeth whitening over the presence of this vital mineral, you’ll risk tooth decay. For example, you will most likely have cavities even when you brush and floss regularly.
In most parts of the United States, a small amount of fluoride is added to public water supplies. So you might be getting fluoride from your daily water intake. Since there is no guarantee that the water fluoride is enough, always look for a fluoride-based toothpaste.
3. Plan for Dental Visits
Dental cleanings and check-ups are good practices for maintaining your dental hygiene. They should be done at least twice a year. As such, always plan for a dental examination.
A hygienist can remove hardened tartar from your teeth during your dental visits. The dentist will also check for signs of dental health issues such as gum disease and cavities. The dentist can also advise you on the teeth cleaning tools you’ll need to maintain good oral hygiene.
4. Do Not Forget to Floss
Even your most trusted toothbrush may not clean between your teeth. For these areas, experts recommend flossing at least once a day. This practice will remove the food particles lodged between the tight spaces in your teeth.
If you leave these particles trapped between your teeth for a long time, you’ll have bad breath. When flossing, push the floss gently until it reaches the gum line. Avoid being aggressive, as the floss may cut your gums.
5. Cut Down on Sugary Foods and Carbohydrates
Consuming sugary foods can increase your risk of tooth cavities. Some foods with high sugar levels include candies, processed foods, and desserts. Experts recommend reducing your sugar intake to less than 10% of the calories you consume every day.
Research shows that starchy foods increase the risk of tooth decay. When these foods stay in your mouth for a long time, they eventually break down into sugar. Bacteria thrive on these sugars, leading to tooth decay.
You can replace carbohydrates with vegetables and fruits that are rich in fiber. Some fibrous foods like apples and carrots can scrub your teeth and remove accumulated plaque.
6. Avoid Smoking
You probably know that smoking damages the lungs. However, you might not be aware that smoking triggers oral health problems.
Smoking is one of the significant causes of gum diseases. It weakens the immune system, making it difficult for the gums to fight off infections. Smoking also prevents faster healing of the gums after undergoing a dental procedure.
The toxins in tobacco will stain your teeth and give you bad breath. So, giving up smoking will improve your dental hygiene.
7. Drink Water
If you want to improve your dental hygiene, you should drink sufficient water. When your body is well hydrated, you will have a healthy saliva flow.
Maintaining enough saliva levels is vital in promoting oral health. Saliva ensures that harmful bacteria do not stay in the mouth for long before you swallow them. Water ensures that you have enough saliva to quickly move the bacteria and food particles before they cause bad breath.
You can also stimulate the flow of saliva by chewing sugar-free gum.
8. Use Mouthwash
Even after brushing and flossing, it is essential to use mouthwash. The mouthwash will reach most of the areas in the mouth that you can’t clean using a toothbrush or dental floss.
It can therefore prevent plaque and reduce the risk of gingivitis. Using a mouthwash also slows down the development of tartar.
Rinsing your mouth will remove food particles that may be hiding in the corners of your mouth. As a result, your breath will remain fresh at all times. If you’re unsure about a suitable mouthwash, you can ask your dentist.
9. Avoid Brushing Immediately After Having Acidic Foods
Acidic foods and drinks tend to soften the enamel temporarily. If you brush immediately after taking these foods, you could remove some enamel parts. In turn, you will be at more risk of tooth decay.
The best practice is to wait at least one hour after having food with a low pH. It could be citrus fruits, wine, soda, juice, or tomatoes. Holding off on brushing will prevent unnecessary tooth wear.
Leverage Oral Hygiene Tips for Healthy Teeth and Gums
A healthy body starts with good oral hygiene. These simple oral hygiene tips can protect you from various dental health problems and subsequent general health issues.
As is evident in the tips, caring for your teeth is simple and only requires you to stay committed. Implement the advice today and take your oral hygiene from good to great.
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