The truth of the matter is that there are 365 days in a year, and you probably only see your dentist on 2 of them. Seeing as how your smile is kind of a permanent thing, what should you do with the other 363 days to make sure your teeth are well taken care of? Fortunately, a few daily habits can make all the difference when it comes to your smile. Your family dentist in Tulsa, OK, Dr. Angie Nauman, has 4 simple tips to keep your teeth looking great between dental visits.
1. Brush Your Teeth…Correctly!
At this point, you probably feel like you’ve been brushing your teeth your entire life. A quick chat with your parents will quickly change that, as they probably have plenty of stories about chasing you around with a toothbrush. Despite your current familiarity, even most adults do not brush their teeth correctly. They typically miss one of the following things:
- Brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. No need to brush 3 times or more, as this can actually break down your teeth
- Brush for at least 2 minutes each time
- Brush the front, back, and sides of every tooth
- Use a gentle circling motion
- Brush your tongue for fresh breath
Most of the time, people brush without even thinking about it. This is why they usually do not brush long enough, and can even miss large areas. If you are using a manual toothbrush, be sure to set some type of timer so you don’t have to keep track of it. Be sure to clean every tooth, especially the back teeth, as these are the most often missed. A gentle circling motion with the brush is much better at breaking up plaque than simply going back and forth. You can also cut down on the gum and breath-mints by simply brushing your tongue. Often your breath is dictated by the food that is left on it.
2. Remember to Floss!
Yes, you need to floss every time you brush. Whenever you “forget” to floss, you are leaving nearly 40% of your teeth’s surfaces uncleaned, which can leave you very vulnerable to tooth decay. Flossing is able to reach areas that your brush simply can’t. It doesn’t matter which order you do them in, just as long as you always do both. Be sure to use 12-18 inches of floss every time, and floss between every tooth, even behind the back teeth.
3. Limit Sugary Drinks!
The plaque that can decay your teeth comes from naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth feeding on leftover sugar. Drinks such as sodas, juices, energy drinks, and cocktails are high in sugar and can facilitate the buildup of plaque. You don’t need to give them up completely, but drinking a little more water can do a lot to help preserve your teeth.
4. Drink More Water!
This will help you with #3. Whenever you’re thirsty, you should try and just drink water. Not only will it keep you hydrated, but it also gives your teeth a nice rinse, removing excess sugar and food particles. It’s the next best thing to brushing your teeth, so give yourself a quick rinse during the day after meals.
These all seem pretty easy to follow every day, right? The true key is consistency. The only way to get the most out of these tips is to do them all the time. They require very little effort, and they’ll help keep your next check-up nice and quick.
If you’d like to know more tips about keeping your smile bright throughout the year, just call us today.