Going to the dentist regularly for teeth cleanings and exams is one of the best habits you can have for good oral health, but visiting a dentist every six months is not enough to protect your teeth from threats. Having healthy teeth will require good habits at home, too, and here are some of the best practices you can develop to keep your teeth clean, healthy, and strong.
1. Use the Right Toothbrush
The first thing to realize is that the toothbrush you use plays a huge role in the health of your teeth. The brush you choose should be a soft-bristled brush. A soft-bristled brush is strong enough to wash away bacteria and plaque, yet it is soft enough not to damage your teeth. Medium- and hard-bristle brushes often do more harm than good for your teeth.
2. Replace Your Toothbrush Often
Any type of toothbrush must be replaced regularly. Replacing yours every three to four months is typically sufficient, and you should do this for two reasons:
- A toothbrush can contain bacteria, especially when you use it for too long.
- A toothbrush will wear out, which will prevent the brush from effectively cleaning your teeth.
3. Brush Long Enough, But Not Too Long
It's important to know how often and how long to brush your teeth. Most dentists will recommend brushing twice a day, and this is typically recommended in the morning and before bed. Brushing a third time, during the middle of the day, is also a good idea if you want to keep your teeth really clean. There is no need to brush more than this, though. If you brush too often, you could destroy the enamel on your teeth and cause damage to your gums.
It's also important to brush your teeth for two minutes each time you brush. This can seem like a long time, but this is the amount of time it takes to really clean your teeth well.
4. Use a Fluoride Rinse Daily
Fluoride is the only type of mineral that can actually strengthen the enamel on your teeth, and the enamel is what protects your teeth against cavities. If you use a fluoride rinse before bed each night, your teeth will stay stronger, and this will help keep them cleaner and healthier.
5. Keep Your Mouth Hydrated
Saliva is a natural substance found in the mouth, but you may not realize all the benefits it offers, including helping your teeth stay strong. Saliva actually cleanses the mouth by rinsing off the teeth all day long. If you have a good supply of saliva in your mouth, you may be able to prevent cavities. Unfortunately, some people suffer from dry mouth. With dry mouth, you may experience bad breath and more cavities.
If you do not naturally produce a lot of saliva, there are things you can do to keep your mouth hydrated. One option is to chew sugar-free gum. Gum will stimulate the saliva glands, which may cause them to increase their production. Another thing you should do is drink plenty of water. If your body does not have enough water in it, your mouth may feel dry.
6. Be Selective with Foods and Beverages
Finally, you can keep your teeth cleaner by choosing to eat and drink the right things. The beverages you choose to drink, like coffee, sports drinks, and red wine, can stain your teeth and lead to cavities. If you can avoid these beverages, your teeth will stay nicer.
In addition, eating sugary foods can also harm your teeth. Bacteria that lives in your mouth feeds on sugars. As this happens, acid is produced, and this acid is what will lead to cavities.
If you would like to learn more about good oral care tips and habits, contact a dentist in your area, like one from Grace Dental, and schedule an appointment to have your teeth cleaned and examined.