Your mouth will never feel as clean as when you’ve just left the dentists office after a cleaning appointment, but if you want to hang onto that fresh feeling as long as possible, here’s what you need to do.
Oral health is all about keeping a daily dental care routine and living a healthy lifestyle. The more you take care of your mouth, the less time you’ll spend at the dentist – it’s generally a direct correlation. You should of course always keep up to date with visiting your dentist (every 6 months), but the risk of needing more than a professional cleaning and inspection is lessened by paying attention to your oral health yourself. This means you’ll not only be healthier, but you’ll save a lot of money.
Here’s what you can do to keep your mouth clean in-between dental cleanings:
Keep a healthy diet
While this is a good idea for more reasons than your oral health, cutting down on things like sugar and soda is great for your teeth.
Drinking soda on a regular basis means your teeth will be assaulted by citric acid and phosphoric acid, which eats away at the enamel, and your teeth will become susceptible to nasty cavities. Soda occasionally is ok, but you’d be best off sticking water for hydration. If you crave more flavour, adding fruits or mint leaves can make a huge difference to your palate.
Lots of sugar in your diet is also not great for your teeth. That’s because sugar makes your mouth more acidic and helps bacteria grow. This means plaque will build, harming your gums and tooth enamel, and leading to premature tooth decay. Limiting your sugar intake, especially from sweet treats and sugary drinks will have a big benefit on your oral health. If you do eat or drink sugary things, it’s recommended to rinse, brush and floss afterwards.
Say no to smoking
Smoking is bad for your health and your teeth. Smoking will undo all the cleaning work your dentist did in a hurry. Nicotine and tar will coat your mouth and teeth which is especially harmful to your gums. This coating also increases bacteria and plaque production, again increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Smokers are at higher risk of tooth loss, gum disease and oral cancer. This is one habit we definitely recommend you kick to the curb.
Brush often and brush the right way
You should be brushing your teeth at least twice every day, usually in the morning and at night before you go to sleep. Even better is to brush after every meal or if you drink something other than water. This will help keep most bacteria causing elements out of your mouth and your teeth clean. Even a good rinse after eating or drinking is beneficial.
However, frequency is only half of the brushing formula for healthy teeth. It’s also important that you brush using a proper technique because otherwise you could end up doing some harm. You should keep your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and use short circular motions, making sure that you’re brushing teeth and not your gums. It’s also important that you don’t brush too aggressively, because putting too much pressure as you brush can end up making your teeth more porous and sensitive, or harm your gums leading to gum recession.
We recommend speaking to your dentist about the best toothbrushing technique for your teeth and pay attention that you do it right every time. It might seem cumbersome at first but as with everything you do repeatedly, brushing with a proper technique will be a habit in no time.
Don’t skip the floss
Brushing your teeth and flossing go hand in hand, and your brushing routine alone won’t get to the tight, hard to reach places in between your teeth. That’s where flossing comes in, but as with brushing, you need to be doing it right. When you floss, make sure you’re keeping the floss pressed up against the teeth and watch that you don’t cut into your gums. It’s also important to floss behind your last molar for a complete floss.
Chewing gum for a healthier mouth
If you can’t rinse or brush after a meal, chewing gum can really make a difference. The chewing causes saliva production which has natural antibacterial properties and also helps flush your mouth to keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh. Just remember to chew a sugar-free gum!
Eat foods that naturally clean your teeth
While sugary foods and sodas harm your teeth, there are others that can improve your oral health. Foods like apples, celery, carrots and even popcorn are called “detergent” foods and can help reduce plaque. While not a substitute for rinsing, brushing or flossing, eating the right foods can give your teeth a clean boost.
Can I skip the dentist?
The more time and thought you put into caring for your teeth, the better off you’ll be, but that doesn’t mean you should skip regular visits to your dentist. Getting professional teeth cleanings is the best way to maintain your oral health and catch any potential issues quickly, before they become real concerns. The sooner your dentist can fix the problem the easier, and cheaper, it will be.
Don’t take your oral health for granted
If you don’t take care of your teeth and prioritize your oral health there can be harmful consequences. You’ll be putting your mouth at risk of cavities, tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease and even diminished overall health. Oral health has been shown to be linked to a number of health issues such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections, Alzheimer’s, dementia and diabetic complications. Make sure you don’t take your oral health for granted and keep your cleaning routine and dentist appointments prioritized.
If you need a dentist appointment for a professional cleaning or any other treatment, please contact any of our GTA dental offices at your convenience.