Not taking care of your mouth can lead to more than bad breath and cavities. In fact, more extreme issues such as sensitivity, gum disease, and even tooth loss can occur from neglecting oral hygiene.
These issues can be easily preventable by simply adopting a few effective oral health habits into your lifestyle. Here are five active ways to improve your oral hygiene.
The right technique and the right product make all the difference
A proper brushing technique is crucial. Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward your gum line and gently move the bristles back and forth short strokes. Be sure to brush all surfaces of your teeth, and don’t forget your tongue!
Shopping for the right toothbrush can sometimes be difficult, but don’t let the seemingly millions of options and brands scare you from choosing the best one for your needs. Toothpaste comes in a variety of options that can suit every one of your oral hygiene needs, from bad breath to sensitivity. Mouthwash is a great additional step towards a healthy mouth with active ingredients that combat plaque and protect the teeth, but it is not a replacement for daily brushing or flossing. Talk to your dentist if you are unsure about which product is right for you.
Floss, Floss, Floss!
Every dentist will tell you that flossing is imperative to your oral health. Surely everyone has had a lecture on flossing and a how-to demonstration, but here’s a quick video on flossing just in case you need a refresh. Flossing is great because it reaches in places that a toothbrush and mouthwash can not, so floss at least once a day, preferably at night. Gum bleeding and soreness is possible if you don’t floss often, but don’t give up! It’s a sign that your gums are getting stronger. Check out these effective flossing tips for more ways to improve your flossing technique.
If you aren’t a fan of traditional flossing, a variety of tools exist to help aid in teeth cleaning, such as floss holders and water picks.
A great oral hygiene routine doesn’t happen overnight
Like all great things, good oral health takes time. Several small changes in your routine will gradually improve your oral hygiene, but the key to a white smile and a healthy mouth is to adopt these healthy habits and stick with the routine. Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two to three minutes at a time. Make sure you floss right after brushing, and finish your routine with mouthwash to keep your teeth and gums optimally healthy.
Start healthy habits early
Since great oral health is a gradual process, teach healthy oral hygiene habits to children while they are young. As soon as the baby teeth appear, they are at risk for cavities. Cavity-causing bacteria can easily develop in a baby’s mouth by simply sharing the same spoon as a parent, and can be just as painful as a cavity in your mouth, so look after your child’s teeth as if they were your own.
A baby’s teeth are extremely sensitive and fragile, so make sure you use age-appropriate dental products and techniques, such as soft-bristled toothbrushes. When your child has two teeth touching, it’s time to start daily flossing. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using a ‘smear’ of fluoridated toothpaste for children three or younger, and a ‘pea-size’ amount for children ages three through six. Your child should see the dentist before their first birthday. Discuss any questions or concerns with your dentist or your child’s pediatrician.
Visit your dentist regularly
We are all guilty of pushing off dental check-ups, but in order to have a great oral health routine, actually visiting your local dentist is the most important habit to adopt. See your dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and to prevent hidden problems that can lead to oral diseases.