Everyone wants to have a perfect smile, and the best way to make sure of that is to practice good oral hygiene consistently. The added bonus of taking care of your smile is that you prevent a variety of other future dental and medical problems such as gum disease, infection, bone loss, heart disease, and even strokes. Along with regular check-ups and trips to your favourite dentist for a cleaning, you too can incorporate techniques into your daily routine to ensure pristine oral hygiene and care. So, what are the Top 10 Dental Hygiene Steps that we recommend to promote and maintain great oral hygiene? Here’s our detailed and informative rundown:
1. Make a Visit to Your Dentist in Ottawa (on a Regular Basis!)
Many folks are religious about regular visits to their dentists – but this isn’t true of everyone. Regardless, a regular visit is key if you intend to ensure healthy and perfect teeth. Most dentists recommend that their clients visit at least twice a year in order to have a full hygiene treatment performed. Along with comprehensive cleaning and assessment, during your regular visit, be sure to ask your Ottawa dentist for x-rays intended to help detect and prevent future dental treatments from occurring.
2. Are You Flossing? If So, How Often?
Let’s be honest – most people think flossing is a time-consuming chore, and they often forget to do it, especially if they are rushing out the door or heading to bed. However, flossing is key if you intend on ensuring healthy gums. Flossing can also help you remove food particles and other detrimental substances that brushing regularly cannot – especially those hard to reach particles. No matter how often you brush, the benefit of flossing is that it allows you to get to those hard-to-reach places that are deep between your teeth where even the best toothbrush bristles or mouthwash cannot reach or wash away. To maintain mouth cleanliness, we recommend flossing at least once a day, ideally more – once in the morning (or even after meals), and once in the evening before bed.
3. Brushing: You’re Doing This, But Are You Doing it Right?
On a day-to-day basis, one of the easiest ways to help keep your teeth clean is by brushing. And not just any type of brushing, but a particular technique. When brushing your teeth, we recommend positioning your brush bristles at an angle of 45 degrees near the gum line. Both the gum line and the tooth surface should be in contact with the bristles. To ensure the best clean, brush the outer surfaces of the teeth using a back-and-forth, and up-and-down motion. Try your best not to brush rigorously, but gently in order to avoid bleeding. To clean the inside surfaces of the teeth and gums, repeat the same 45-degree angle with back-and-forth and up-and-down motion. Proper brushing also includes the surfaces of your tongue and the roof of your mouth, so don’t forget to complete these steps. Doing so will ensure that you remove bacteria in other areas of your mouth, and reduce the potential for bad breath. Dentists recommend trying to brush your teeth, tongue and roof of your mouth at least twice a day. This helps prevent acid buildup in your mouth that results from the breakdown of food by bacteria. You can even brush more if you so choose. However, if your daily activities prevent you from brushing that often, try at least to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after eating. Doing so will help you reduce the amount of food and bacteria that is left behind in your mouth.
4. Whatever You Do, Don’t Forget to Use Mouthwash
Mouthwash probably isn’t the tastiest liquid to put in your mouth. But it is effective and necessary if you intend to wash away the bacteria left behind in your mouth. Dentists recommend using mouthwashes containing chlorine dioxide because they effectively kill unwanted and unhealthy bacteria and maintain the needed and healthy bacteria in your mouth. The added benefit of mouthwash? It can help maintain good breath while ensuring strong teeth. While mouthwash cannot do all the work of maintaining oral hygiene, it is an essential companion to brushing, flossing, visiting your dentist and eating and drinking well. If done consistently, mouthwash will help make the difference between a stinky and unclean mouth, and a mouth that is in pristine health.
5. Watch What You Drink: Keep Sodas, Coffee and Alcohol in Moderation
Coffee, alcohol and carbonated beverages can have a number of damaging effects, particularly in relation to your teeth and mouth. While these beverages contain a high level of phosphorous (a mineral that is necessary in order to maintain a healthy mouth), dentists also remind us that too much phosphorous can deplete the body’s level of calcium. This is particularly dangerous for our teeth! When the body’s level of calcium is depleted, this can cause dental hygiene problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. There are also aesthetic downsides to drinking soda, coffee, and alcohol as a result of the additives used to make those products. Beverages containing additives such as corn syrup and food dye can quickly transform your pearly white teeth into dull and discolored teeth. So, if you intend to have healthy and beautiful teeth, instead of reaching for that soda, try choosing beverages like milk instead. Milk not only helps strengthen teeth and their enamel, but it also gives you a healthy, beautiful smile. And when you’re not drinking milk, opt for a tall glass of water which unlike sodas or coffee, hydrates your body longer than sugary drinks.
6. Tobacco’s a No-No
Tobacco is one of the mouth’s biggest enemies. Trust us when we say that your mouth will thank you if you decide to cut this product out of your daily activities. Tobacco can lead to oral cancer and periodontal complications. Eliminating it will save you from the countless ill effects caused by the agents used to mask the smell of tobacco. For example, you may use candies, tea or coffee to mask the smoky breath and odor that results from your smoking habit. But these products can also lead to a number of ill effects all on their own. So, if you are hoping to reduce health risks in your life, consider avoiding or cutting out tobacco cold turkey.
7. Are You Forgetting Your Tongue?
Did we mention cleaning the surface of your tongue daily? To get the best results to invest in a professional tongue cleaner. While toothbrushes get at bacteria, they are not as effective as a tongue cleaner. The reason being that tongue cleaners help remove countless bacteria that otherwise live particularly on the rougher top surface of your tongue. These bacteria can contribute to bad breath (halitosis) and negatively affect your dental health. So, before you head out for the day or to bed at night, be sure to reach for your tongue cleaner and scrape away at any unwanted and unnecessary bacteria!
8. Love Your Teeth – and Your Body – by Reaching for Calcium and other Vitamins
At every age, it is of the utmost importance to fuel your body with sufficient calcium – which in turn helps strengthen your teeth as well as your bones. Along with drinking the recommended intake of milk, you can ensure great teeth by also incorporating fortified orange juice, yogurt, broccoli, cheese, and other dairy products into your diet. If you’re not keen on gaining calcium by directly drinking and eating these products, you can also opt to take a calcium supplement. But take note – if you intend to get calcium in supplement form, be sure to follow the prescription instructions and take the appropriate dose according to your age and necessity. Aside from calcium, you might consider adding other important vitamins to your diet. These include vitamin D (which maintains the health of gums and teeth), vitamin B complex (which helps protect gums and teeth from cracking and bleeding), copper, zinc, iodine, iron and potassium (all of which are good for oral health).
9. Small Problems Are Connected to Larger Ones
Our mouths aren’t just islands on their own. While everyone understands that taking care of your teeth means you are working to avoid toothaches, maintain your looks and keep dental bills at bay – not everyone understands that oral hygiene is connected to other personal health issues. Oral health is crucial to keeping our total health picture in balance. If we don’t maintain oral health, this could lead to other troubling health care problems. Tooth problems can lead to diabetes, heart disease, systemic infections, an inability to eat or speak properly and other maladies – some of which are life-threatening. Even crooked or crowded teeth can contribute to gum disease, and eventually tooth loss. In the bigger picture, having pearly white and straight teeth is not just about having a beautiful smile. Maintaining great oral care leads to ensuring a clean bill of bodily health.
10. Recognizing a Toothache & Other Prominent Dental Symptoms
Sometimes, when your mouth is not being properly looked after, it may be difficult to detect exactly when you are experiencing a toothache or any other dental symptoms of an emergency nature. If you are having tooth and jaw pain, it’s better to get out ahead of the situation and make an appointment ASAP. Toothaches specifically, and dental symptoms more generally, are problems that need expert attention. As a result, your best bet is to call upon your Ottawa dentist to diagnose the underlying cause and correct it before it turns into a greater problem.
Triadent Ottawa Dentist is Your Oral Hygiene Partner
If you have any questions about these techniques, or how to cater them particularly to your own health needs, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Triadent Dental. A member of our friendly Ottawa dentistry team will be sure to offer their assistance when you give us a call at 613.596.6623.