Preventive hygiene care, including brushing and flossing, and regular visits to your dental office, can help you maintain your oral health. Here, our Ottawa dentists share our top 10 best tips for maintaining good oral hygiene.
1. Brush twice a day, for at least minutes.
For good oral hygiene, you will want to brush your teeth at least two times a day, ideally in the morning and before bed, for two to four minutes each time. Start with your brush at a 45-degree angle in a sweeping motion. Brush your upper teeth using a sweeping downward motion, and your lower teeth using a sweeping upward motion. You should only brush back and forth on chewing surfaces.
2. Floss every night.
Ideally, you should floss daily before you brush your teeth in the evening. Flossing your teeth not only helps remove debris but also minimizes the risk of tooth decay. It helps keep your gums healthy too. Use a piece of floss up to 18 inches long so you can use a fresh area of floss for every few teeth. You should floss in a motion that creates a forward or backward 'C' shape, wrapping the floss around each tooth.
3. Rinse with mouthwash daily.
While not a substitute for flossing or brushing, adding mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine can help to kill the germs that can build up in your mouth. Because mouthwash can go where toothbrushes and floss can't, it can help to rid your mouth of debris that can irritate the gum line and lead to gum disease.
4. Brush or scrape your tongue daily.
After brushing your teeth, bacteria can still remain on the tongue. Brushing or scraping your tongue as part of your daily routine can help to get rid of this bacteria, and also helps to freshen your breath. Be sure to use one toothbrush for brushing, and a different toothbrush for scraping your tongue.
5. Visit the dentist regularly.
Visit the dentist, at least twice a year, for a dental examination and cleaning. Dentists and hygienists have tools and techniques to clean your teeth far more thoroughly than you can at home. Regular dental exams also give your dentist the chance to spot and treat any developing issues early on before they cause you more trouble or require more extensive treatment.
6. Don’t delay dental treatments.
Many people have fears that prevent them from getting dental treatments, while others avoid treatments because they think that it will be too costly. The truth is, preventive check-ups and treatments do not cost much compared to extensive care of a dental crown or implant. Avoiding necessary treatments may impact your dental hygiene in a negative way and end up costing you more in the long run.
7. Make healthy food choices and minimize sugar.
The food you eat has an effect on your whole body, including your teeth. So be sure to eat plenty of fruits and veggies, and minimize your consumption of sugar which leads to cavities. Calcium and Vitamin D are necessary for maintaining the health of gums and teeth. Some great options for increasing Vitamin D and calcium are fortified orange juice, milk, white beans, cheese, and leafy greens. Supplements are also available.
Vitamin B complex is also essential for the protection of gums and teeth from cracking and bleeding.
8. Limit pop, coffee, and alcohol.
Beverages containing additives such as corn syrup and food dye can make white teeth appear dull and discoloured. It is best to make your main beverage of choice water. It keeps you hydrated and promotes good oral health!
9. Wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth.
If you play sports or other contact activities, it is recommended to wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth and gums from impact or injury. Most dental offices offer custom-made mouth guards for patients to comfortably fit their smiles and keep their teeth safe from damage.
10. Avoid habits that are harmful to your teeth.
Steer clear of tobacco and other substances that are harmful to your teeth, and try to break habits such as biting your nails or opening bottle caps with your teeth. If you have the habit of sucking your thumb, lip-biting, tongue-thrusting, or clenching your teeth, consult a dentist for treatment options.