Your smile might be telling you more than you think.
As you’ve probably heard from your dentist, there’s more to your oral health than just sparkling white teeth. Not taking proper care of your oral hygiene can land you with a mouthful of bacteria and plaque. Eventually, this can lead to gum disease, which is linked to conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s.
So how can you take your dental techniques up a notch? From dental cleanings to brushing techniques, here are a few simple ways to step up your oral health routine — and keep you smiling bright.
1. Brush Your Teeth — The Right Way
Brushing your teeth is the first line of defense against harmful bacteria that can lead to plaque, stains, gum disease, and even tooth decay. You probably already know how important brushing is to your health, but did you know that your brushing technique could make or break your routine?
Here’s how to clean your pearly whites the right way:
- Brush at least two times a day, if not three
- Take your time and brush for at least two minutes
- Brush in thorough, circular motions
- If using an electric toothbrush, let the bristles scrub each tooth for around four to six seconds
- Cover every part of each tooth, including the front, bottom, back, and top
- Don’t stop with just the teeth — make sure you’re brushing your gums, your tongue, and even the roof of your mouth.
2. Replace Your Toothbrush Often
Whether soft-bristled or electric, your toothbrush is essential to keeping your smile clean and white. Make sure you’re replacing your toothbrush after three months of use to avoid bacteria build-up.
3. Floss, Floss, Floss
Stats show that we aren’t flossing nearly as much as we should. Only four in 10 Americans floss every day. Twenty percent don’t floss at all.
That’s bad news for overall oral health. With only a minute or two of flossing a day, you can practice essential hygiene that might save you from problems later on in life. It might not whiten your teeth or clear up stains, but it does help you remove food particles between your teeth — which will eventually breed tooth-destroying bacteria.
To make sure you’re flossing effectively, always thread the floss down to the gums and move it back and forth, slowly and gently removing particles and plaque.
4. Get Regular Dental Cleanings
You shouldn’t be waiting until you feel like something is wrong to take a trip to the dentist. Regular checkups are an important part of maintaining your oral health. It is recommended to get a dental cleaning and checkup every six months to keep your mouth clean and healthy.
Preventative care isn’t just about keeping your mouth clean. Your dentist can detect and treat minor issues before they turn into something more serious.
Think you might be due for another cleaning? Take a look at our directory to find the right dentist near you and book a cleaning today.
5. Cut Down on Sugary or Acidic Drinks
You might depend on your daily cup of coffee (or another drink) to get you through the day, but be mindful of how much you’re taking in. Coffee and red wine can create yellow stains and wear down your enamel. Other sugary drinks like soda can put you at high risk for cavities.
If you can’t fully kick your habit, don’t worry. Drinking your favorite beverage through a straw can help reduce the impact on your teeth.
6. Drink More Water
What does staying hydrated have to do with oral health? It’s less about the hydration and more about how the water washes out your mouth. Drinking water right after a meal can help wash out some of the food particles and bacteria — especially from acidic or sugary foods.
The Bottom Line
If you want your smile to last a lifetime, all it takes is spending a few minutes each day tending to your oral health.
With these simple tips, you can improve your oral health — and set yourself up for the best overall health. Who wouldn’t smile about that?
Do you need a new dentist? Take a look at our directory to find the perfect dental specialist in your area. Search by service, treatment, specialty, and location to find a provider that meets your needs.