Maintaining a healthy mouth and brilliant smile takes a little more than a hasty brush before bed. Learning how to improve your oral hygiene will help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath and allow you to keep that killer smile of yours for a long as you can.
It can be easy to fall into bad brushing habits and become lazy with your flossing. Here’s how to get your oral hygiene back on track and keep your teeth in tip-top condition.
Choose the right brush
You won’t get far without the right toothbrush. Choose a soft-bristled brush rather than medium or hard. Electric toothbrushes can lower the risk of tooth abrasion and help you achieve the correct brushing technique. If your child has difficulty brushing, an electric toothbrush may be a good option. Be sure to check with your dental professional first to find the right brush for your child.
Replace your toothbrush and electric toothbrush head every three months—at the start of every season is a good way to remember. If your bristles start to flare, replace your brush and remind yourself to ease up on your brushing.
Correct brushing technique
Brushing teeth is a no-brainer when it comes to oral hygiene, but just how many of you know how to brush your teeth properly?
If you’re guilty of slapping on the toothpaste, giving your teeth a speedy back and forth, spitting and rinsing, then it’s time to learn how to perfect the process.
Position your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle near your gum line to ensure a thorough clean of your teeth and gums. Use gentle back-and-forth and up-and-down motions and don’t forget to clean the inside surfaces of your teeth.
Divide the mouth into sections and spend around 30 seconds in each section. Go easy on your teeth to avoid tooth abrasion.
Clean your tongue
Okay, so we have the brushing technique down pat. What about your tongue? Your tongue, and roof of your mouth, can harbour bacteria and cause bad breath. It’s important to clean your tongue daily to improve your oral health. Use a regular toothbrush, or invest in a tongue brush or scraper.
Brush at least twice a day
Brush twice a day, after breakfast and before bed, to prevent bacteria and plaque build-up, reduce the chance of discolouration and improve your breath. If you can’t get to a toothbrush, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water.
Don’t forget to floss
Flossing might be the last thing you feel like doing before bed or when you’re rushing off to work, but it is one of the best things you can do for your oral health. Food loves to hide in hard-to-reach places. Flossing is an easy and effective way of cleaning these places that your toothbrush just can’t reach. We recommend you floss twice a day to keep the bacteria at bay.
Watch what you drink
You’ve just brushed and flossed beautifully and now you’re going to put all of your hard work to waste with a morning cuppa. The tannins in tea and coffee can cause teeth discolouration and bad breath, while coffee in particular can cause tooth and enamel erosion. Swish some water around in your mouth after your cuppa to lessen its effects on your teeth.
Fizzy drinks are full of acid that damages the surface of your teeth. An occasional can is harmless enough, but fizzy drink fans should be aware it will wear down your teeth’s enamel and expose your teeth to decay and sensitivity.
We hate to break it to you, but wine (white and red), spirits, cocktails and even beer take their toll on teeth thanks to high levels of sugar and acid. To lessen the effects, sip water while drinking. Don’t brush immediately after drinking acidic drinks as it can increase the risk of tooth abrasion.
Water or milk are your best bet when it comes to drinks for protecting and strengthening your teeth.
Foods to avoid
Sticky and chewy sweets are a nightmare for your teeth. Not only do they get stuck in your teeth, but they are often the cause of broken and lost teeth. Sugary foods and citrus fruits should also be eaten in moderation to lessen the damage to your tooth enamel.
Give your gums some love
Caring for your gums is just as important as caring for your teeth. Gingivitis, known as gum disease, is one of the most common causes of tooth loss. Regular brushing and flossing is the best way to take care of your gums.
It doesn’t take long for nicotine and tar to take its toll on your teeth. Smoking can lead to discolouration, gum disease, bad breath and loss of teeth. If you smoke, you have an increased chance of producing bacterial plaque and gum disease due to the reduction of oxygen in your bloodstream.
Increase calcium and vitamin intake
Teeth love calcium. Drink milk and eat yoghurt, cheese and other dairy products. You will also benefit from taking a calcium supplement, vitamin D for healthy gums and teeth, and vitamin B to protect gums and teeth.
Mouthwash is a great addition to regular brushing and flossing. It can help you maintain good breath and strong teeth.
Regular dental check-ups
Schedule in twice-yearly check-ups with your dentist. Your dentist will check for signs of gum disease or tooth decay and will remove the build-up of plaque on your teeth. Regular check-ups ensure you can pick up oral issues in the early stages and keep treatment and cost at a minimum. Of course if there are warning signs that you may have a problem, such as a toothache or bleeding gums, see your dentist immediately.
Learn how to improve your oral hygiene to maintain a healthy mouth, brilliant smile and reduce your chance of oral problems that can lead to serious health issues.
Book an appointment with Australia Dental today to speak to one of our friendly professionals about how to improve your oral hygiene.