Good oral health habits can keep your teeth in good condition for your entire lifetime. The goal is to remove plaque, the bacteria constantly forming on the teeth. Without removal, plaque eventually hardens in tartar. That leads to cavities and gum disease. The team at Pacific Northwest Periodontics suggests five good habits for keeping your teeth as healthy as possible.
1. Brush Teeth Properly
You probably know that you should brush your teeth after every meal but it’s also critical to brush your teeth properly. Always use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Using small, circular motions, brush your teeth gently with short strokes back and forth. Avoid aggressive sawing motions when brushing. Replace your toothbrush every two to three months.
Brush your tongue gently with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper every time you brush your teeth. Brushing the tongue can remove leftover food particles, odor-causing bacteria, and plaque buildup.
Never go to bed without brushing your teeth. Otherwise, that day’s germs and plaque remain in your mouth, potentially contributing to tooth decay and gum disease.
2. Floss Regularly
Many people brush their teeth regularly but pay less attention to flossing. That’s a mistake. Flossing gets rid of food particles that you can’t reach no matter how well you brush your teeth. Flossing also removes plaque.
Dental floss isn’t your only option. You might want to use a water flosser or other products designed for this purpose.
Aim to floss at least once daily.
3. Use Fluoride Mouthwash
Along with fluoride toothpaste, fluoride mouthwash helps prevent tooth decay. Unlike a non-fluoride mouthwash, a rinse containing fluoride strengthens the tooth enamel.
4. Avoid Sugary Foods and Beverages
When it comes to maintaining healthy teeth, a holistic approach is necessary. While brushing and flossing are crucial, so is avoiding sugary foods and beverages that encourage tooth decay. The oral environment eventually turns sugars into acids. Those acids erode enamel and form cavities.
Eating a healthy diet and limiting sweets benefits more than your teeth. It’s good for your health overall and can help with weight loss.
5. Schedule Dental Checkups
Schedule a semi-annual dental cleaning and checkup so that tooth or gum issues can be detected early, while at the most treatable stage. Annual dental X-rays let the dentist view the parts of your teeth and jaw that cannot be seen with a visual exam, and either establish a baseline or compare earlier radiographs for changes.