Posted by Dr. Julie Boudreault On 3-04-2019
As dentists, we cannot stress enough just how important good oral hygiene is for your teeth and your overall health. Good oral hygiene includes brushing and flossing but is more than just that. First, you have to brush and floss properly. Second, you need to create a routine that becomes a habit that promotes dental health. Here are our tips to help you create an oral hygiene routine that will become second nature to you and your whole family.
Never Go to Bed Without BrushingIf the number one rule for a happy marriage is to never go to bed angry, then the number one rule for happy teeth is to never go to bed without brushing! Brushing should always be done twice a day and skipping this nighttime ritual is not an option. You have to remove all the germs, plaque and bacteria from your mouth before you lay your head on the pillow, otherwise, they will work away on your teeth all night long promoting tooth decay and tartar buildup.
Proper Brushing TechniqueAlthough no one is going to grade you on your brushing technique, doing it wrong will reduce the effectiveness of your oral hygiene routine. Also, we can tell when you are not brushing properly when we perform your dental checkups and cleaning. We will always provide tips based on issues we notice, but your best bet is to practice the right motions to get the best use of your toothbrush. Follow these steps:
- Take your time to make sure you reach every tooth surface
- Move your toothbrush over your teeth gently using a circular motion
- Resist the temptation to press hard as this can cause issues such as sensitivity and receding gums
- Use an electric toothbrush with a pressure alarm to help provide even pressure and cleaning
- Brush your tongue to remove plaque and also lessen the chance of having bad breath
Use Toothpaste with FluorideThe toothpaste aisle can be a little overwhelming with so many flavours and versions available. However, the number one rule when choosing a toothpaste is to make sure it contains fluoride. Fluoride is your best defence against tooth decay and making your teeth stronger.
Don’t Skip FlossingIt is natural for us to reach for the floss when we have something caught in our teeth, but you should make it natural to reach for it every day. Flossing is a very important part of your oral hygiene routine as it not only removes all those little particles of food that get caught between your teeth but also helps to stimulate your gums. You will remove bacteria and decay-causing plaque. All of these things work together to protect your teeth and gums. Your gums will be less apt to become inflamed and bleed with flossing as well. Just once a day is enough to keep your mouth healthy. If you have challenges with flossing due to arthritis, health issues or even a strong gag reflex, there are other products you can use to get the same results. Some of these include ready-to-use flossers which come on a handy holder, and rubber tipped gum stimulators that can provide much-needed gum stimulation. Many toothbrushes have a gum stimulator at the end of the handle.
Many people think mouthwash is just for bad breath, however, mouthwash offers many more benefits, including:
- Reduces acid in the mouth
- Adds an additional rinse to help remove debris between teeth and along the gumline
- Helps re-mineralize your teeth
If you can’t floss, make sure you add mouthwash to your regime
Drink WaterWater is your healthiest beverage choice because it does not contain sugar. Water plays an important role in your oral health because it not only contains fluoride when you drink tap water, but it also washes out debris and residue in your mouth without leaving any harmful sugars behind.
Healthier DietLike water, healthy food choices are better for your health and teeth. Fresh fruit and veggies are your best option. The crunchier the better as crunchy fruit and veggies contain fibre and provide stimulation for your jaw. Avoid sugary and acidic foods as these work to erode your tooth enamel which can lead to cavities.
Regular Dental CheckupsEven if you follow all of these tips to the letter, your own oral hygiene habits are not enough to maintain optimum dental health. Ideally, you should see us twice a year, but at the least, an annual checkup is a must.
There are many reasons you should see us regularly including
1. Oral cancer detection
We will check your mouth for signs of oral cancer such as discolourations, white spots, lesions, and lumps.
2. Plaque, tartar, and cavities
Plaque that is missed by brushing and flossing turns into tartar which cannot be removed without professional tools. Professional cleaning removes tartar which prevents cavities.
3. Gum disease
Tartar can also cause gum disease as when it builds up it can cause infection. Infection in your gums causes them to pull away from your teeth leading to bleeding and swelling. This is uncomfortable and can lead to loosening of your teeth. All of this can be avoided with proper cleanings to remove that stubborn tartar.
We will take x-rays to look for issues that are below the teeth and gum lines, such as impacted wisdom teeth, decay beneath fillings, issues with other restorative treatments and more.
5. Head, neck, and lymph nodes
We not only check your mouth, but also look at your neck, jaw, and lymph nodes for abnormalities that could indicate potential health issues. We will refer you to your doctor to look into these issues further to avoid serious health problems. Swollen lymph nodes might not be noticeable if they are painful, but can be a sign you have some types of cancers as well as other diseases.
Following these tips will help you develop an excellent oral hygiene regime to help you maintain optimum dental health.