This month is National Dental Hygiene Month! To celebrate, we want to take the opportunity to talk about dental hygiene and how important of a role it plays in keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
Not many people properly care for their oral health, which is why conditions like periodontal disease are still prominent even today. This condition attacks your teeth and gums, infecting them and ruining your smile.
To keep your mouth healthy, Dr. Andrew Mortensen is here to provide some dental hygiene tips, which you should follow to ensure a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
1. Brush Your Teeth Properly
The most important thing you can do for your oral health is to properly brush your teeth and gums twice every day. That said, it is important that you use the right technique when brushing. To start with, you will want to hold your brush so that the bristles point at a 45-degree angle, which will ensure that your brush also covers a portion of your gums. Then brush gently, using a circular motion. Be sure to brush both the front and back of your teeth, and don’t brush too roughly. If you see blood, you need to ease up.
It is also important that you use the right type of toothbrush. Brushes with soft bristles are better for your teeth as brushes with hard bristles can remove enamel, and they may even harm your gums. If you feel like you want a stronger brush, consider using an electric toothbrush instead of using a hard bristled brush.
2. Be Sure to Floss
Flossing is the most underutilized oral hygiene tool in your arsenal. Many people fail to floss because they find the movements awkward, or they find it makes their gums bleed. However, it is incredibly important that you floss every day. Doing so removes food and bacteria caught between your gums and teeth, which isn’t reachable with just a toothbrush. If you are having difficulty with regular floss, pick up some floss sticks. Just be sure that you are getting under the gums of every tooth when you use these flossers. And as far as the bleeding goes, the more you floss the stronger your gums will get and they will no longer bleed after every flossing.
3. Consume Less Soda and Alcohol
Beverages that are full of sugar or are carbonated can harm your oral health. This includes all soda and certain alcoholic beverages, like Champagne and spritzers. First of all, the sugar in these beverages attracts bacteria to your teeth, which creates acid using the sugar as fuel. These acids eat away at your teeth and gums, causing infection and decay. The carbonation in these beverages can also harm your mouth, as carbonic acid is what is used to bring about carbonation. Just like the acid produced by bacteria, carbonic acid eats away at your oral structures.
One of the best things you can do for your oral health is give up both of these substances. That said, many people are unwilling to give these substances up, so try to practice moderation at the least. You can also help your teeth by swishing water around your mouth after drinking these beverages, as doing so removes some of the sugar and carbonation left on your teeth. Using a straw could also help ensure that your teeth don’t receive the full effects of sugar and carbonation.
4. Use a Little Fluoride
Fluoride is a great substance for our teeth, as it works to strengthen enamel and prevent decay. In most areas, fluoride is added directly to the water source. Some areas, however, do not. You should speak to your dentist about whether or not your area’s water is fluoridated, and if it is isn’t, speak to them about applying fluoride to your teeth another way. Many kinds of toothpaste and mouthwashes have fluoride in them, so getting the amount you need shouldn’t be difficult.
5. Chew Gum After Meals
While it is advised to brush your teeth after every meal, this usually isn’t feasible every day, especially for working professionals. If you are not able to excuse yourself to brush after eating lunch or dinner, then you should consider chewing (sugarless) gum. Chewing gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, which works as a natural mouthwash, rinsing bacteria and food particles off of your teeth. The constant chewing also works to exercise your jawbone, preventing deterioration.
6. Quit Using Tobacco Products
Tobacco is one of the worst substances for your oral health. Not only does it stain your teeth an unattractive yellow color, but it increases the risk of periodontal disease and oral cancer. This also applies to smokeless tobacco products, which have all of the same toxins known to cause mouth, lip, and tongue cancers. By giving up these things, your oral health will be much better off.
7. Visit A Dental Hygienist Regularly
Finally, you will want to be sure to schedule regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist. It is recommended that you visit a dentist twice per year, during which your mouth will be examined for signs of tooth decay and gum disease. Dangerous tartar and plaque will also be removed from your teeth at this point. These visits are typically scheduled six months apart, and provide your best chance of catching dangerous oral conditions before they become a real problem.
Oral Hygiene Visits for Fountain Valley Patients
Here at Andrew Mortensen D.D.S. Inc., we want to help all of our patients properly care for their oral hygiene. With this goal in mind, we provide all manner of dental services, including cleanings and oral cancer screenings. To schedule a no-obligation consultation with Dr. Mortensen, contact our office today. We look forward to helping you achieve a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.