Oral Health Basics: 8 Must-Knows for Maintaining Healthy Teeth

Before modern dentistry, the only treatment for a sore tooth was pulling it and there wasn’t much available for oral hygiene and preventive dental care either. Today, we’re lucky to live in the era of modern dentistry which allows all of us to avoid the pain of dental health problems and even keep our natural teeth for life.

Happy couple with white teeth hugging in a meadow

To avoid oral health problems like bad breath, tooth decay, cavities, infections, and periodontal disease, it’s important to develop solid oral hygiene habits that you practice on a daily basis. Include the following in your oral hygiene routine to promote healthy teeth for life.

8 Basic Oral Hygiene Tips for Healthy Teeth and Gums

1. Brush Twice a Day

You should brush your teeth twice a day (after waking and before going to sleep) for two minutes (30 seconds per quadrant of teeth). To brush most effectively, be sure you’re using the proper technique. Pick a toothbrush with soft bristles that will not irritate your gums and hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth. This angle allows for optimal cleaning along the gum line.

For even better results, we recommend investing in a high-quality electric toothbrush, such as a Sonicare. These brushes use high-frequency vibrations to break up plaque and remove debris from the surface of the teeth.

2. Floss Daily

You should also floss at least once a day. There are a variety of types of floss and flossing tools available with different flavors, different thicknesses, and waxed or unwaxed varieties that can make it easier for you to floss comfortably.

When flossing be sure to floss between each of your teeth, taking care not to push down on the gum tissue between your teeth but to gently slide the floss along each side of this triangle-shaped tissue. Additionally, pulling the floss into a “C” shape around the surface of each tooth will achieve a more thorough cleaning when you move the floss up and down along the tooth’s surface.

3. Visit the Dentist Regularly

You should also visit the dentist’s office twice a year. You’ll receive a prophylactic cleaning during each visit and a professional dental examination during at least one visit. If you have ongoing oral health concerns, such as periodontal disease, then you might need to visit the dentist for cleanings, treatments, and examinations more frequently.

These appointments are integral to the prevention of gum disease and also ensure that our dentists are able to detect and diagnose any oral health problems in their earliest stages before they’ve had a chance to progress and become more difficult to treat.

4. Drink Fluoridated Water and Use Dental Products With Fluoride

Minerals like calcium and fluoride are essential to the remineralization and strength of our teeth. If you live in a city with fluoridated water, then drink it. If not, you can ask your dentist whether you should be taking dietary supplements with fluoride.

You should also always choose dental products that contain fluoride to strengthen your teeth every time you brush or use a mouthwash.

5. Eat a Balanced and Nutritious Diet

Maintaining good general health through a nutritious diet also promotes healthy teeth and gums. Choose foods rich in vitamins and minerals (like calcium) to strengthen your smile from the inside out.

6. Do Not Use Tobacco of Any Kind

Tobacco products not only stain your teeth, but they are also extremely harmful to your oral health and general health. Inside your mouth, tobacco products harm the gum tissues, worsen periodontal disease, and lead to gum recession. Additionally, they drastically increase your risk of developing oral cancer.

7. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption

Regular alcohol consumption can also increase the risk of oral cancer, irritate gum tissues, and stain your teeth. Beware of using mouthwash that contains alcohol, as well, because this sneaky alcohol source can also cause the same oral health problems as alcoholic beverages when used on a regular basis.

8. See the Dentist If You Have Any Symptoms or Changes

Pay close attention to the feelings in your mouth. If you notice any changes or experience any unusual symptoms, you should schedule a dental examination right away, instead of waiting for the time of your routine exam appointment to come around.

Symptoms like pain, numbness, loose teeth, sensitive teeth, discoloration, changes in the texture of your soft tissues, spots on your teeth, swelling, or anything else unusual could indicate an oral health problem that requires prompt treatment.

Focus on Prevention With Dental Care at Smiles at the Exchange

In addition to practicing these basics of oral hygiene, we also recommend investing in preventive dentistry treatments like professional fluoride treatments and dental sealants that can protect your teeth and help prevent tooth decay. To learn more about preventive dentistry or for more personalized dental care tips and recommendations, we welcome you to schedule your next dental exam with a dentist at Smiles at the Exchange. Contact us today!

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