Growing up, you undoubtedly heard that you should brush your teeth every single day if you want to prevent cavities. Your parents, teachers, and – of course – dentists told you this because they wanted to make sure your smile stayed as healthy as possible. While you may do a decent job of daily brushing as an adult, there are most likely some other things you could be doing to bolster your at-home dental care. Here are four oral hygiene best practices that you should make sure to do every day!
1. Brushing Twice a Day
Brushing your teeth when you first wake up might be a ritual of yours to help you remove the bacteria that have been festering in your mouth overnight. By doing so, you’re also eliminating the dreaded morning breath. Unfortunately, brushing in the morning alone simply isn’t enough. As you eat and drink throughout the day, bacteria-filled plaque builds up on your teeth and gums, which can harden into tartar. Brushing at least twice a day breaks up this plaque, preventing it from wreaking havoc on your pearly whites.
2. Using the Right Type of Toothbrush
It might seem like the harder bristles a toothbrush has, the more effectively it cleans teeth. In reality, a hard-bristled toothbrush can end up doing more harm than good by wearing down enamel (the outer layer of teeth). A soft-bristled toothbrush is gentler on your teeth while still cleaning effectively.
If you have a history of cavities, consider investing in an electric toothbrush. The bristles rotate thousands of times per minute, giving you a more thorough clean.
A toothbrush can’t clean the tight spaces between the teeth, but dental floss can. Without flossing, food debris and bacteria can accumulate in these areas and cause infection. To get the most out of flossing, make sure to do it before or after every toothbrushing session. If you floss before brushing, the spaces between your teeth are more open to receiving fluoride from your toothpaste. Still, flossing after you brush is better than not flossing at all!
4. Cleaning Your Tongue
Your teeth and gums aren’t the only parts of your mouth where harmful bacteria can thrive. They can just as easily accumulate on your tongue. Not only does this result in bad breath, but these bacteria can redeposit themselves onto your teeth and gums even after you brush and floss. That’s why you shouldn’t forget to clean your tongue. You can either scrape it (from back to front) with your toothbrush or purchase a tongue scraper from your local pharmacy for cheap.
By following these oral hygiene best practices, you can enjoy a cleaner mouth, a more pleasant time at your dental appointments, and even lower dental care costs in the long run!
About the Author
Dr. Robert Graffeo has more than 25 years of experience helping patients in the Hoboken, NJ area enjoy brighter, healthier smiles. He strongly believes in the importance of building lasting relationships with patients as well as educating them on caring for their smiles in between cleanings. To learn more about maintaining good at-home dental care, contact Dr. Graffeo at 201-683-3531.