While it’s common to use the beginning of a new year as a launching point for healthy resolutions, often centered around physical health and wellness, most people tend to overlook the significance that good oral hygiene has on their quality of life.
Many of us understand that brushing teeth helps prevent cavities but good oral hygiene can also fight off other oral health concerns, such as infections, tooth decay, gum diseases, etc. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts,” so a buildup of bacteria within your mouth can affect the rest of your body.
As we find ourselves at the beginning of 2020, prioritize your oral health with a complete dental hygiene routine to defend against harmful oral infections and diseases.
To get started on your 2020 oral hygiene care, follow these dental tips from your Dakota Dental team:
Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day
To maintain healthy teeth and gums and to remove harmful plaque, it’s important to brush your teeth twice a day. Though it’s easier to rush this step, taking the time to properly clean your teeth will offer the most impact on your health. When brushing, be sure to implement the following good oral hygiene tips:
- Brush teeth for at least 2 minutes, spending time in each area of your mouth. If you find you often rush this process, try using a timer on your phone, or download a dental hygiene timer app that’ll also show you where and how long to brush certain areas of your mouth.
- Designate focus areas in your mouth to ensure you entirely brushed each tooth. No matter where you start, be sure to brush the sides of your teeth (i.e. inside, outside, and any exposed sides, like the back molars) and the tops of your teeth (i.e. the chewing surface) to ensure each tooth is well cleaned. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, as well!
- According to American Dental Association’s Mouth Healthy™ website, a proper brushing technique places your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums, gently moving in small tooth-wide strokes back and forth for each tooth. For cleaning the inner side of your front teeth, hold the brush vertical, and use small upward and downward strokes.
- Update your toothbrush frequently. Once every three months or when your toothbrush starts to fray, it’s time to opt for a new one. Many power toothbrushes come with replaceable heads and make for efficient toothbrush options. Ask your Dakota Dental team for recommendations on selecting a toothbrush that’ll work best for you.
- Use a toothpaste with fluoride in it to help maintain healthy enamel. There are so many toothpaste options on the market that can target some of your specific oral hygiene care concerns (e.g. teeth whitening, sensitivity, tartar control, gum disease, etc.). You can connect with your Dakota Dental team to see which toothpaste may be best to address your unique dental needs.
Clean Between Your Teeth
While brushing your teeth is vital to prevent harmful plaque buildup, interdental cleaning (i.e. flossing) is essential to clean those hard-to-reach places in-between your teeth, where food particles and bacteria may hide.
Here are some effective flossing options:
- Dental Floss
- Dental Floss Picks or Dental Flossers
- Interdental Brushes
- Water Picks
Your Dakota Dental team can help you determine which interdental cleaning option is best for you, and demonstrate the proper way to clean in-between your teeth.
Remember to take your time when flossing, as it’s common for people to snap the floss between teeth, which can make for an uncomfortable experience that’s not as effective. According to ADA’s Mouth Healthy, you should “guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion” towards your gum line, and then curve the floss against the tooth in a C shape, gently sliding the floss between your gum and tooth and rubbing in small upward and downward motions.
Incorporate an Alcohol-Free Mouthwash
Mouthwash is a great addition to your dental hygiene routine, and you should aim to rinse your mouth for 30 seconds, daily. ADA describes how mouthwash compares to interdental cleaners, as they get to the hard-to-reach areas that a brush can’t, but the ADA warns that mouthwash isn’t an effective replacement to brushing and flossing.
There are countless mouthwash options on the shelves, and each may target different oral concerns, including cavity prevention, treating gum disease, aiding dry mouth, etc. Regardless of which option you choose, opt for an alcohol-free mouthwash, as mouthwashes containing alcohol can dry your mouth of the saliva it uses to keep bacteria at bay. Your Dakota Dental team can help you select an option that best addresses your personal dental concerns and goals.
Limit Your Exposure to Sugary and Acidic Foods and Drinks
The food you eat can also affect your oral health, as well as your overall health. Sugary and acidic foods (i.e. coffee, soda, sweets, etc.) can be detrimental to preserving the enamel of your teeth, increasing your risk of tooth decay. To benefit your overall health and your oral hygiene, reach for more fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber!
Visit Your Dakota Dental Team Regularly
Your dental experts at Dakota Dental can help you stay on track with your dental hygiene routine, as well as perform deeper cleanings to remove stubborn plaque and tartar, assess your oral health, check for cavities and infections, recommend dental hygiene products, and so much more. It’s best to visit your Dakota Dental team every six months to maintain good oral hygiene and address oral health problems as they arise and even prevent some future dentistry services.
Dakota Dental Offers a Superior Preventative Dental Care Program
At Dakota Dental, our team of dental experts offer comprehensive dentistry services, including a dental preventative care program, cosmetic dentistry, and holistic dentistry services. For more information on good oral hygiene practices and our comprehensive dental services, contact us today, or schedule an appointment with a member of our dental team.