Maintaining healthy teeth and gums takes commitment for a lifetime. Sticking with healthy habits helps keep your smile bright and prevent oral health issues from arising. Here are our top 10 tips for a healthy smile.
1. Floss At Least Once a Day
Many people know the importance of brushing their teeth — which is great! — but there is another crucial step for caring for your mouth: flossing.
Along with removing any debris that may be stuck in your teeth after eating, flossing helps reduce plaque, stimulate the gums, and lower inflammation.
For those who find flossing difficult (young children, individuals with arthritis), the right tools can make it far easier to maintain a flossing routine. Ask your dentist if you need a recommendation for a flossing tool.
2. Always Brush Your Teeth Before Bed
The general recommendation for brushing is to do it at least twice a day. However, it is important to make sure that at least of one brush sessions is before you go to bed.
Brushing before bed rids the mouth of any plaque and germs that have accumulated during the day and prevents them from building up further while you sleep.
3. Brush Properly
Brushing improperly is almost as bad as skipping brushing entirely. Take your time and move the brush gently in circular motions. This ensures any plaque is cleared away before it hardens and leads to gingivitis and calculus buildup.
4. Don’t Forget Your Tongue
Plaque doesn’t just buildup on teeth — it can also build up on your tongue! This can lead to bad breath and other oral health issues. Every time you brush your teeth, gently brush your tongue as well.
5. Use a Fluoride Toothpaste
Toothpaste is often categorised according to its whitening power or flavour, but it is also important to choose a toothpaste that features fluoride as an ingredient.
Fluoride has long been a mainstay in caring for a healthy mouth, and for good reason. It defends against tooth decay by fighting off germs and forming a protective barrier over teeth.
6. Consider Including Mouthwash In Your Routine
We find that many people skip mouthwash without realising how effective it is. It helps maintain good oral health in three ways:
- Reduces the amount of acid in the mouth
- Cleans areas in the mouth and gums that are hard to reach
- Helps re-mineralise the teeth
For older individuals or young children that struggle with flossing properly, mouthwash can be a particularly helpful tool for maintaining a healthy mouth.
It is important to only use mouthwash at a separate time of day to brushing, using it to rinse after brushing replaces a high strength fluoride substance (toothpaste) with a lower strength fluoride substance (mouthwash). We suggest only spitting the excess toothpaste out and not rinsing with anything (even water).
There are a variety of mouthwash types available, from brands that work best for sensitive teeth to types that are specifically formulated for children. Prescription mouthwash is also an option. Ask your dentist for the best mouthwash recommendations.
7. Drink Enough Water
Along with being the best beverage for supporting your overall health, water also supports oral health. In addition to getting the recommended daily water intake, it is helpful to drink water after every meal or snack. This can help rinse away debris and acids in between brushing.
8. Eat Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables
With fibre, minerals, and vitamins, fresh, crunchy fruits and vegetables are great for your health and teeth.
Foods with fibre help keep gums and teeth clean, and amp up your defence against gum disease and cavities. Fibrous foods also help get saliva flowing to:
- Help prevent acids and enzymes from attaching teeth
- Restore minerals to areas of the teeth that have been damaged by bacterial acids (saliva contains trace amounts of phosphate and calcium)
9. Limit Acidic and Sugary Foods
Sugar turns to acid in the mouth and puts teeth at risk of enamel erosion and cavities. Certain teas, acidic fruits, and coffee can also have a negative impact on tooth enamel.
You do not necessarily have to cut these foods out entirely, but it is important to be aware of their potential impact. Using mouthwash immediately after consuming sugary foods or acidic drinks can help protect your enamel by neutralising the acids, we have to be careful with brushing straight after acidic food or drinks as you can scrub the softened enamel off.
10. See Your Dentist At Least Twice a Year for Check-ups
Keeping up with the habits mentioned above is crucial for your oral health and can go a long way in maintaining a healthy mouth. However, even the most committed brushers and flossers must see a dentist regularly (at least twice a year).
Regular check-ups serve to:
- Remove calculus and plaque build-up
- Check for cavities
- Spot potential issues such as gingivitis and oral cancers
In Need of a Check-Up?
We are back to seeing patients as normal now, as long as they haven’t got COVID-19 or been in contact with someone that is positive to it. Please get in touch if you are overdue your general checkup or have outstanding treatment to be completed.