September is National Oral Health Month! What better time to make extra effort to take care of your mouth? Not only is good oral hygiene important to having healthy teeth and gums, but it may also lower your risk of chronic diseases. Find out how you to keep your mouth, gums and teeth in the best condition.
Why you should take care of your oral hygiene
Here are some reasons that good oral hygiene is important:
- Oral pain (tender, bleeding gums), infections and missing teeth can affect your ability to talk, eat and feel confident. Being unable to eat can impact your nutrition, not to mention your enjoyment of food.
- Research shows there is a connection between poor dental health and chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
- Taking care of your oral health will help issues such as cavities and gum disease.
Oral hygiene tips
Here’s what you can do to keep gums, teeth and mouth in tip-top shape:
Brush your teeth regularly
Brush at least twice a day — ideally in the morning and in the evening — this promotes optimum mouth health. Use a soft-bristled brush for a more comfortable cleaning experience.
How to brush correctly:
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums
- Gently brush back and forth in short, wide strokes
- Brush on all tooth surfaces
- Tilt the brush vertically and make up and down motions to clean behind the teeth.
- Don’t forget to brush your tongue
- Brush for at least 2 minutes
- Get a new toothbrush every 3-4 months
Daily flossing is an absolute must. Unlike brushing, floss gets in between teeth and the gum line, and it removes plaque buildup between the teeth and around the gumline. As a result of this, your chances of getting cavities are greatly reduced.
How to floss correctly:
- Break off a piece of floss
- Hold the floss in between your index fingers and thumbs
- Curve the floss around the bottom of each tooth. Make sure the floss gets below the gum line but don’t push too hard.
- Use clean sections of floss as you floss
- If you don’t like sticking your hands all the way in your mouth to floss, get a Waterpik or long-handled flosser to make the job easier.
Rinse with mouthwash
Eliminate bacteria in your mouth by swishing with a good mouthwash. In addition, mouthwash removes bacteria and biofilm and freshens your breath.
Chew some gum
Chewing sugar-free gum can cure that bad breath and clean your teeth. Also, chewing gum neutralizes acids on your teeth which can wear away your enamel.
Make healthy food choices
Eating a lot of foods high in sugar can lead to cavities. Foods high in acid, such as lemonade and orange juice can also cause acid erosion of your tooth enamel. This results in damage to your teeth, making them sensitive and soft. Stick to options like fresh vegetables, less acidic fruits and water to keep your teeth healthy.
Visit a Dentist to maintain oral hygiene
Following good oral hygiene won’t necessarily eliminate all of your oral health issues, but it can reduce dental problems. Brushing twice a day, flossing, rinsing, and regularly replacing your toothbrush can minimize extra trips to the dentist. However, visiting a dentist at least twice a year is vital as dentists can pick up on signs of cavities and gum disease.
If you would like a thorough cleaning and check-up, contact us at Smith and Van Lierop Dentistry. Using the latest technologies, we provide a pain-free dental experience that gives you a whiter and brighter smile. Our skilled Oral Hygienists use advanced and comfortable techniques along with patient education to keep for your smile healthy for as long as possible.